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Technology

Hurricane-Resistant SURE HOUSE Wins the 2015 Solar Decathalon (energy.gov) 51

Kristine Lofgren writes: The SURE HOUSE, designed and built by the Stevens Institute of Technology, was announced today as the winner of the 2015 Solar Decathlon. The uber-efficient house exceeds Passive House standards and uses less than 10-percent of the energy that a standard house consumes. But beyond solar-powered efficiency, the house is also designed to be open and breezy when the weather is good, but when a hurricane strikes, the house can be locked tight against the onslaught. In fact, it's so tough that it can act as a solar powered community center for an area hit by a natural disaster. Congratulations to the SURE HOUSE team! The team's website has some additional pictures, as well as more explanation of their design decisions.
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Hurricane-Resistant SURE HOUSE Wins the 2015 Solar Decathalon

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  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday October 17, 2015 @06:39PM (#50751123)

    I guess they designed it for the energy conscious exhibitionist.

  • So, when do they break ground?

    • i guess as soon as you flash the cash and provided the land. :o)
    • by fche ( 36607 )

      Hey, my curiosity snapped OFF when I saw the snazziness of the slide show, and the absence of anything unpolished and real, like photos, prototypes, etc.

  • There is a lot to like in this, but I do have some issues.

    I would like to see a series of detailed plans that show, for example, the R Value of the insulation, especially with the broad window exposure, the kWh capacity of the panels, the storage capacity, and more. Also, it needs upscaling for real-world families.

    For a young couple with no kids and both working outside the home, who only need a place to sleep, it appears ideal. That ain't me or my family.

    Where's my office for my writing and programming?

    • For a young couple with no kids and both working outside the home, who only need a place to sleep, it appears ideal. That ain't me or my family.

      From the story:

      We merged the inherently efficient indoor/outdoor rooms and open floor plan of the quintessential 60â(TM)s style modern beach cottage with state of the art building science, the latest renewable energy technologies, and fiber-composite materials repurposed from the boat building industry.

    • by yakatz ( 1176317 )

      I would like to see a series of detailed plans that show, for example, the R Value of the insulation, especially with the broad window exposure, the kWh capacity of the panels, the storage capacity, and more.

      You can see most of the construction documents on the Solar Decathlon site [solardecathlon.gov]. They have to be published as part of the competition rules.

      Also, it needs upscaling for real-world families. For a young couple with no kids and both working outside the home, who only need a place to sleep, it appears ideal. That ain't me or my family. Where's my office for my writing and programming? What would be the impact on the energy system of the five computers I use constantly, or the ones others in my family use? Where's my media room, the big screen for my movie enjoyment?

      Where are the bedrooms for my kids and grandkids when they visit?

      As part of the competition, they needed to specify who their target market is and they are limited to 1000 square feet no matter what they choose, so the house will be on the small side for a family.

      PV Water heat sounds nice, but for how much water? How does it handle a real winter? Is there propane backup for winter use?

      Still, there are some good ideas here. Maybe When I build the next house, I will use some of them.

      That is the real purpose of the Solar Decathlon - to get people to think about energy usage and to spur development of better clean energy technology.

      • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

        As part of the competition, they needed to specify who their target market is and they are limited to 1000 square feet

        no matter what they choose, so the house will be on the small side for a family.

        (or ~93 square metres)

        What size family do you have? My home is 108 square metres, and it's a 3 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms, a huge kitchen, and a large living room. How much space do you actually need?!

        (108 square metres = ~1162.5 sq. ft.)

    • the placing of interior walls is not important to the design (apart from a few structural ones for either another floor or housing equipment in the roof cavity) so you create the rooms you want. The important thing is to make it leak proof but obviously the bigger the floor area, the more PV etc you'll need but i doubt it'll be very much more
  • The SURE house used 9100 kwh for a year compared to 130,000 kwh for the average NJ house. That is obviously quite the improvement, but my 1970s rambler, 25% larger, only used 27,000 kwh last year - in North Dakota. About 18,000 kwh of that was for space heating. My monthly energy usage beat the SURE house three months out of the year.

  • So we have an eco-friendly design to be built on illustrated beachfront that will likely be eroded into nothingness within the next couple decades. All the resources placed into its construction will be utterly wasted. Not very eco-friendly.
  • c'mon man, this is /., and we will whip you.
  • This looks like a neat idea and all, and I'm sure that the open idea could work well, strictly considering temperature. That said, one reason why people desire to go home often comes down to the sense of privacy and solitude it provides. To do this, some isolation -- especially noise isolation -- from the outside world is needed. Unless you're somewhere quite rural, you're guaranteed to get a lot of racket (people chattering, motors running, dogs barking, etc.) from the outside world, and that's probably no
    • when a building is properly insulated like this, it is very very quiet as long as the windows/doors are closed. A well insulated building keeps a lot of heat out as well as the cold. You also have PV which can run any AC you have for nothing and because of the insulation, it won't work nearly as long or hard as it does in a normal house. The continuous HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) system runs 24 hours a day exhausting the stale humid air from the house and brings in clean, filtered temperature adjuste
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday October 17, 2015 @09:13PM (#50751701)
    Not sure why the summary concentrated on just the winner. This is an annual competition [solardecathlon.gov] where teams from different schools (and sometimes companies) build energy-efficient homes. Most of the entrants are on display in Irvine, California [solardecathlon.gov] until the 18th. Free admission.

    As with most things in life, there is no single "best" answer. While they do pick a winner, if you take the time to visit the exhibit and browse the different homes, you'll see a lot of really great ideas on how to save energy.
  • I have seen this before in american houses, but never understood it. Why put the washer and dryer in a closet in a room where they can annoy everyone? Must be a cultural thing. Newer models of your appliances also insist on playing small tunes to notify you that they are done, as if the deafning silence wasn't a clue. :) A energy efficient washing machine seems to take much longer to wash so I would guess that it would be even more annoying for longer periods of time. On top of that american appliances are

    • Brit here, and very few of our houses have a mechanical room. The washer is almost invariably placed in the kitchen, simply because this is the room where water and drainage are.

  • It looks nice, but can I have mine with a separate kitchen and living room, please?

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?

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