Czech Technical University Constructs the AIR House

Made entirely from wood, the goals of the AIR house were to be Affordable, Innovative and Recyclable. The Czech Technical University designed the house for older 50+ year-olds who are nearing retirement. The team received the coveted 1st place award in Architecture and Energy Balance, 2nd place in Engineering and 3rd place in Hot Water, Comfort Zone and Market Appeal. The overall cost of the house with the energy system and all the appliances is $307,336.

A large wooden slatted box surronds the AIR House.

This team shipped their house across the Atlantic from the Czech Republic to the shores of the Pacific to receive 3rd place overall in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.

In order to receive a score in the Entertainment event (one of 10 events) each team must host two dinner parties and complete with a film screening. This tests the home’s general electrical systems and the combined efficiency of the appliances. They aren’t sitting around saving electricity and using candles. They’re watching films on large screen TVs, baking apple strudel, making multi-course meals and leaving the lights on. It’s all powered by the sun. Here are the Czech Technical University’s Dinner Menus and Recipes. (13 page pdf. They have a nice strawberry dumpling recipe.)

Photo Gallery

I took the opportunity to see the homes while they were open to the public. Click or tap on an image to see it in a larger format. Click or tap the right side of the image to view the next image.


  • Natural wood fiber thermal insulation envelops a living area that features a wood façade, finishing, and furniture.
  • A solar wooden canopy protects the enveloped area from sun and wind while generating electricity.
  • A painted do-it-yourself wall façade enables occupants to write and erase messages.
  • A charging station powers a pedelec (electric bicycle).
  • A generous outside terrace expands the interior space for cooking, gardening, relaxation, and storage.
  • An integrated edible natural garden mediates between the house and its surroundings.


  • PV panels generate all the electricity needed to operate the house.
  • Wood fiber insulating material regulates moisture levels and provides acoustic and thermal insulation.
  • A solar water heating system ensures the preparation of hot water.
  • A radiant chilled ceiling system provides comfort and stability to the interior environment.
  • When needed, an air-conditioning unit with a direct evaporator conditions the relative interior air humidity and supplies fresh air.
  • A greywater system collects water from the shower and wash basins, filters it, and reuses it to irrigate plants, thus reducing water consumption.

Final Overall Scores

The team finished in  3rd place with a total of  945.142 points.

The team finished in 3rd place with a total of 945.142 points.

All of the teams learned and accomplished a lot in the Solar Decathlon in order to design, build, finish, dismantle, transport, rebuild, compete in the competition and display the homes (with a smile, over and over and over again) to help educate the public.

2nd place finisher in the 2013 Solar Decathlon Air House.

A student from CTU finishes a tour of the AIR House.

They had amazing, sometimes arduous, yet highly educational, and rewarding experiences. The final score is a summation of task completion, monitored performance of the homes and jury evaluations within 10 events.

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Visit the team’s website:



Keya Lea

Keya Lea likes to spend time outside, enjoying the sun.

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