Caltech and SCI-Arc's soft landing at Solar Decathlon
At the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., one of the head-turning designs on the National Mall is CHIP — the Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype by a team from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. With insulation stretched around the outside of the frame instead of inside, the house looks like it's wrapped in a spacesuit.
The competition is meant to spur innovation in energy-efficient home design, and college teams invest a lot in making their ideas reality. CHIP took two years, more than 100 students and $1 million to build. Solar panels power an Xbox Kinect that has been turned into a master command center, allowing residents to turn lights and appliances on and off simply by pointing at them.
We'll post more from the Solar Decathlon as winners in various categories are announced.
Photo credit: Stefano Paltera / U.S. Department of Energy