Inside the most energy efficient home design of 2013

Inside the most energy efficient home design of 2013

For the sixth time, the United States Department of Energy has brought together some of the brightest collegians from around the world to build energy-efficient homes that people would actually want to live in.

The Solar Decathlon is a sight to behold: more than a dozen homes are built on-site with inspiring energy-saving technologies.

It was a scene I was able witness first hand when the competition was held in Washington, D.C. This year the competition moved to Irvine, California where, from what I can tell by the photos, the results were just as impressive.

The winner for 2013: Vienna University of Technology in Austria. The team’s LISI (Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation) home is powered by rooftop solar panels and generates more energy than it consumes in a year. But the competition isn’t just about generating energy, the top team also has to build a house with consumer appeal that is affordable and has a good design. Among the other features include:

A modular wooden frame that makes construction quick and efficient,
An automated screen and awning system that cools living spaces,
A rainwater reservoir that waters the outdoor herb garden,
Two air-water heat pumps for space heating and cooling,
An energy-recovery ventilation unit that keeps indoor air fresh,
And a heat-recovering shower tray that reduces hot-water demand by one-third.
Take a look inside this beautiful home that also happens to be ultra-efficient.

More photos from the rest of the competition, here.

Photo: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy

Inside the most energy efficient home design of 2013

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