Passive ‘Sure House’ wins US Solar Decathlon
Stevens Institute of Technology won top honours overall at the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy efficient, and attractive solar powered house at the competition. Dubbed ‘Sure House’, the building also meets passive house standards for heating demand and airtightness and features heat recovery ventilation.
The Solar Decathlon is a competition that encourages college teams to design, build and operate solar-powered homes.
Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, the house takes a new direction in storm-resilient coastal housing by combining the architectural feel that characterises the Jersey Shore with 21st-century technology and fibre-composite materials repurposed from the boat-building industry, which can repel storms as well as everyday saltwater.
The Sure House is based on three principles: use less energy through smart design, generate all energy needed through renewable solar electric, and be capable of providing power during electrical outages.
Sure (meaning sustainable and resilient) House is a high-performance, solar-powered house that is armoured against extreme weather, and can provide emergency power in the aftermath of a power cut through its solar PV inverter and external USB charging sockets.
The notion of the "shore house" resulted in a focus on indoor-outdoor spaces, and through a simple design transformation, the dwelling doubles its usable space in the summer months by opening up to the outdoor decks.
This outdoor living room complements a contemporary interior that draws on natural daylight and flexible living space to create an inviting family home. Working with local topography such as dunes, the Sure House can also be raised slightly to avoid periodic nuisance flooding and encapsulate vital building systems in a stormresistant shell.
Following Solar Decathlon 2015, the Sure House will be delivered to a Jersey Shore town, where it will become a community outreach centre and information resource.