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Caltech and SCI-Arc's soft landing at Solar Decathlon

September 23, 2011 | 12:44 pm

Caltech SCI-Arc CHIP
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.

Article: Caltech and SCI-Arc introduce CHIP

Photos: CHIP's budget materials and interior features

We'll post more from the Solar Decathlon as winners in various categories are announced.

Caltech SCI-Arc CHIP 2

Photos: The greenest house in L.A.?

Photos: Green houses on the Baja coast

The bizarrely complicated world of household recycling

Photo credit: Stefano Paltera / U.S. Department of Energy