The Whole HOG: Oct/Nov 2013

Water-centric Green Design News

After a historic dry stretch here in California, the skies are full of sweet, sweet rain. Almost as full as our October/November newsletter, brimming with two months worth of water news! We check in with some familiar folks: following Team ASUNM to Irvine, California as they compete in the Solar Decathlon, and visiting a GREENheart Building installation in the Chicago suburbs that showcases the versatility of our HOG tanks in the hands of an experienced builder.

Two separate reports highlight water’s value and risks to the U.S. water system from aging infrastructure to water-guzzling energy production methods. We’re back to the world of whimsy, and clever design with Lampbrella, featured in this month’s B.U.G. Design section. Come on and dive in, the water’s fine!

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Oct/Nov 2013: SHADE at the Solar Decathlon

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image via Amy Vaughn/U.S. Department of Energy

 

TEAM ASUNM Brings their SHADE Home to the Solar Decathlon 2013

After scoring high marks at The Solar Decathlon 2013 (and receiving 6th place in engineering), the takeaway for Team ASUNM is, not unexpectedly, increased confidence in their green building skills and knowledge. Through designing and building their net zero-energy home SHADE, the students of Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico have a hard-won knowledge and appreciation of innovative building techniques to  prepare them for careers as green building professionals.

Thanks for taking HOG along for the ride, Team ASUNM!

After the Solar Decathlon, SHADE will travel to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, where it will be showcased at the New Mexico state capitol for six months. It will then return to Phoenix, Arizona, where it will stay for three years as a part of the city’s Phoenix Renews development plan. The home will be a centrally located model for sustainable living in a developing neighborhood where other houses will be encouraged to go green.

 

Aug/Sept 2013: SHADE brings Sustainability to Desert Living

TEAM ASUNM is counting down the days until the Solar Decathlon 2013 begins. With less than  three weeks to go, they have filmed a walk-through before preparing to take apart the SHADE home. It will be shipped to Irvine, California and re-configured on site at Orange County Great Park for the competition.

Team ASUNM av video

Walk through the SHADE house with Team ASUNM.

The team has looked at the relationship of plants in the Sonoran desert for inspiration – much as the Chinese Decathlon winners from Australia looked to their native environment to inspire the Illawarra Flame House.

Watch the video for more details on SHADE’s design philosophy inspired by the Saguarro cactus and mesquite tree, their unique PV (solar) canopy and an unconventional cooling system that involves a thermal storage unit and a radiant ceiling. Bonus – find HOG on the scene!

Where will SHADE go once the competition is over? It will become a model sustainable home for an urban reclamation project in Phoenix called Phx Renews.

Aug/Sept 2013: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

                         Australia Wins 2013 Solar Decathlon China

This August, the University of Wollongong in Australia took home first place in the China Solar Decathlon 2013 with their Illawara Flame House.

illawarra flame house

The Illawara Flame House designed by UOW Australia. Image via Inhabitat.

Co-hosted by the US Department of Energy, and the National Energy Administration China, this was the inaugural Solar Decathlon on Asian soil.  Much as American and European competitions do, the China 2013 competition challenges university teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

Why is it beautiful? Richard King, from the US Department of Energy, calls the victory of the first ever retrofitted home to enter the competition “remarkable.” He commended the Illawara Flame as a  “modern, very energy efficient house that won the praise of everyone who [went] into it.” The Australian team was inspired by their native Illawara Flame Tree’s spring time renewal and transformation – a metaphor for their radical approach to refurbishing an existing home rather than creating a brand new building.

Why is it useful? “It all began with the idea of retrofit,” Team UOW explain in their walk-through video of the Illawara Flame home, which has been designed for an older couple whose children have left home. The home design emphasizes water efficiency, solar energy harvesting, passive design and advanced ventilation systems.

Three bedrooms have been converted into two, with a large open space for the dining room and living room. Multiple windows promote flow between indoor and outdoor space.

Why is it green? With 8 million homes in Australia that account for 13% of carbon dioxide emissions, refurbishing existing ‘fibro’ homes to a net zero energy standard upcycles homes for the next generation. It also eliminates the waste of tearing down existing buildings.

“The Illawarra Flame is perfect for clients looking to downsize while ensuring a clean energy future for their grandchildren,” explains Team UOW. The jurors thought so too, and Australians took home first prize!

Want more info on a ‘fibro’ house and exactly how it fits into the Australian landscape? Check out this informative overview from Matt Hickman at Mother Nature Network.

Visit Sally’s Blog for more B.U.G. Designs.