Posts tagged solar decathlon

Elegant Efficiency


In his coverage of the Techstyle Haus now competing in the Solar Decathlon Europe, Metropolis writer Martin Pederson has good things to say about the 800-sf prototype – which represents almost two years of collaborative work by students from RISD, Brown and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany.

The house not only uses 90% less energy for heating and cooling than most, it “actually generates 50% more energy than it uses,” Pederson points out. And it’s “an elegant piece of design as well.”

Read the full Metropolis post here. And remember to cast your Public Choice vote for Techstyle Haus by this Saturday.

Europe Embraces Net-Zero Options


In a short piece called A House That Sips Energy, the New York Times points out the key features of the net-zero Techstyle Haus that students from RISD, Brown and the University of Applied Sciences in Germany are now showing in the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe.


The Techstyle team admits that “though the 10-day build was a strenuous process, we made it by helping and being helped by our 19 international neighbors.”

After almost two years of prep, planning, brainstorming, designing, fundraising, fabricating, shipping and building their 800-sf prototype on site in France, the team has reason to feel proud of its stunning accomplishment. “We couldn’t have done it without our fantastic group of students, advisors, sponsors and partners,” they write on their blog. “Now we’re proud to exhibit our house to the public!”

Check out the video for more about the features of the home – and be sure to vote in the Public Choice part of the competition before July 12 at noon. The competition itself continues through July 14 in Versailles, France.

20 Teams Signal a Bright Future

The excitement is palpable as 20 teams of college students from around the world prepare to compete in the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe, which opens to the public in Versailles, France this Sunday, June 28.

Admittedly “running on pure adrenaline and caffeine,” the Techstyle Haus team representing RISD, Brown and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany has been frantically working this week to complete the final on-site construction of their fantastic net-zero home.

Teams have been hard at work for almost two years preparing for the big competition, which runs from this Sunday through July 14.

Be sure to cast a vote for your favorite (Techstyle!) house before July 12.

On Friday Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and RISD’s interim President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID toured the Techstyle Haus in progress as students work to finalize their 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe entry. Later this month, the soft-shelled, solar-powered house will be disassembled and shipped to Versailles, France, where it will be rebuilt in time for the late-June competition.

“It’s terrific to see the house so close to being finished,” says Whitehouse. And Somerson adds, “This is what happens when you design from the inside out, when the system dictates the form, materials and construction.”

For caption information, click on each image (photos by David O’Connor).

RISD and Brown alumni, faculty, donors and friends got up close and personal with the Techstyle Haus last Friday evening. In addition to student-led tours, guests heard remarks from student representatives of the team from RISD, Brown and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany, key faculty and administrators, and lead donor Saint-Gobain. RISD President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID and Brown President Christina Paxton wielded a pair of giant scissors to officially cut the ribbon.

Students will continue work on the Haus for a few weeks before breaking it down to reassemble at the competition this summer in Versailles. Read remarks by RISD and Brown Presidents Somerson and Paxton and see more photos on the Techstyle Haus blog.

photos by Melinda Rainsberger 04 FAV 

Open Haus

Celebrate Earth Day – or better yet, Earth Week/Month – by participating in the Open Haus Forum run by students in the final stretch of building their curvaceous textiles-clad Techstyle Haus entry for this summer’s Solar Decathlon Europe competition.

Through the Forum the team is inviting input from anyone with good ideas. As they put it:

The best ideas submitted will be featured on the Techstyle Haus site and presented as part of the public tour when the prototype is on view this summer in Versailles, France.

While construction continues in Providence, three members of the team are in New York this week working with Stoll to knit the interior M1 textile being used for the walls. And this Friday the Alumni Relations departments at RISD and Brown are hosting a ribbon-cutting event that will allow members of both communities to see how the shapely house is shaping up.



Students and faculty on the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe team are just back from a successful trip to France, where they presented the latest plans for the high-tech house to sponsors. They also secured windows, appliances and a warehouse space in Versailles where they’ll assemble their Techstyle Haus in time for this summer’s competition.

Meanwhile, back in Rhode Island, construction is underway on interior flooring modules and framing for the deck and ramp system. The next step is erecting the steel structural ribs that will support the building’s exterior textile shell. For the latest news and design details, check out the team’s Facebook page.



At their end-of-semester crit yesterday, students in Associate Professor Jonathan Knowles advanced Architecture studio presented an update on the Techstyle Haus they’re designing for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe competition in Versailles, France. The overall shape of the house – the exterior of which will be made of woven fiberglass – has changed in recent months, and students are getting closer to finalizing designs on everything from lighting and power to water treatment systems to interior room dividers and textile wall coverings.  

The critics present for the session, including Dean of Architecture + Design Pradeep Sharma and Interim Dean of Fine Arts Anais Missakian, took part in a wide-ranging discussion that included questions about the mass of the structure; its ability to withstand wind, tension and uplift; the gutter system under development; and the plan of attack for actually assembling the prototype on siteas a fully functional house – prior to the competition in July.