Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy generates a lot of interest with solar decathlon competitions. The main idea: create a new habitual space to match the green revolution in a smart urban environment. That equates in reducing the carbon footprint of the dwellings and to bring real innovation to our way of leaving to match self-sustainability. What the organizers are looking for: energy flow based on renewable energy solutions, dwelling access to natural resources as light, rainwater, general accessibility and functionality of the space.

This year the contest took place at the 61st and Peña Station parking lot, 6195 N. Panasonic Way, Denver Colorado. It was a collegiate competition of 10 teams.

Project Name - NeighborHub

The first place and the higher note: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg; Geneva School of Art and Design; the University of Fribourg or the Swiss Team.


The Swiss Team’s goal is to create a shared space that helps to build and sustain the community around.


NeighborHub is designed with multifunctional spaces that can change to meet the needs of the community—from a dining space for a community meal to a conference room for educational workshops to a bike-repair shop or local market. There are recycling containers that are unlocked and accessible for the entire neighborhood, as well as herb and vegetable planters.


Part of the striking visual design comes from the team’s idea to use solar panels in the facades, which also open and close like garage doors.


Main features and technologies involved in this project:

Technical Card:
  • Laminated veneer lumber is used for the house and the furniture within the house. This structural product provides significant dimensional flexibility in the design and allows small trees to be converted into larger planks.
  • The green roof with vegetation on every surface of the roof skin includes plants chosen to attract bees.
  • There are two vertical greenhouses, one with an aquaponics system for breeding fish.
  • A zero-water “dry” toilet uses worms to treat and recycle waste.

In addition to a photovoltaic (solar electric) system, the team is also using dye-sensitized “Gratzel” solar cells to generate electricity and team-built solar thermal panels for hot water and space heating.

A productive building envelope surface includes walls that produce energy from active solar electric PV panels and that collect the heat from the sun for water and space heating using passive solar strategies. The roof is also a productive surface that is used to collect water and grow food.

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The information posted herein has been compiled by Clean Energy Brands from OEM product data and reputable publications. All rights reserved!

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