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The Solar Decathalon & Building Envelopes
by Katy Purviance on 08/15/08 @ 10:02:02 am
Categories: Green Design, Events | 271 words | 1517 views

The fourth Solar Decathalon is still a year a way, but that doesn’t mean that student teams haven’t been hard at work all summer.

I was just reading about University of Minneasota’s Solar Decathalon team.

The team has put in more hours per week during the summer than it normally did during the school year, president of the Solar Decathlon team Shengyin Xu said.

Check out their preliminary design:

University of Minneasota's Solar Decathalon design

I like the envelope/overhang; I wonder what it’s like on the inside. Just yesterday I was reading about Enertia homes. Enertia homes are completed wrapped in an envelope, creating a natural, open convection path all around the home, thus keeping the living space cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You’ve got to check it out:

Enertia home convection loop

In the Enertia® Building System, solid Energy-Engineered™ wood walls replace siding, framing, insulation, and paneling. An air flow and access channel, or Envelope, runs around the building, just inside the walls - creating a miniature biosphere. Here solar heated air circulates, pumping and boosting geothermal energy from beneath the house, storing it in the massive wood walls. Thermal inertia causes the house to “float” between the cycles of night and day, and even between the seasons.

Many aspects of the Enertia® House are unusual and innovative - but backed up by science, common-sense, and prototype homes across America. In fact, each aspect listed below increases the energy efficiency of the building. The effect is Synergistic - equal to more than the sum of the parts. The Enertia® House can make more energy than it uses!

It’s so simple it’s brilliant.

Read more

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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