Team Texas Builds ADAPT

For the 2013 Solar Decathlon, the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College joined forces to build ADAPT. The modernist house was built with SIPs (structured insulated panels) which allow for any type of siding to be placed on them. 

Team Texas designed a spacious house.

Team Texas designed a spacious house.

The 800 square foot home had an open layout and was built to maximize the relationship with the sun.  The home received a 1st place in the Energy Balance event, making more energy from the sun than it used.  The overall cost of the house with the energy system and all the appliances was $284,000.

The Solar Decathlon puts a house through 10 different events to truly tests a home’s performance.  In order to receive a score in the Entertainment event, each team must host two dinner parties and screen a film for a movie night.  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, whipping up crab cakes with pork tenderloin, making multi-course meals and leaving the lights on.  It’s all powered by the sun.  Here are the Dinner Menus and Recipes from Team Texas (20 page pdf).

Photo Gallery


  • Corten steel panel walls will age to a beautiful patina.
  • Accents of color and light infuse the house with a rustic, Southwestern ambiance.
  • A canopy that covers the porch supports the solar panels and provides shade to the house-length deck.
  • There is ample patio space for outdoor living.
  • Flexible interior spaces blend together with an aesthetic of flow and movement, with large windows that provide sweeping views of the deck, yard, and skyline.




  • An adjustable-height foundation system enables the house to be transported easily and rest on and connect to six steel beams.
  • The walls of the house are made of a strong fiber composite material that is a powerful insulator and highly resistant to fire.
  • Bifacial solar collection units produce electricity for the house by gathering solar energy from both the top and bottom of the units.
  • A ductless radiant heating and cooling system circulates fully as a closed loop of radiant heat.
  • A separate set of pipes in a chilled-beam system moves water through a variable refrigeration unit and chills the fluid before it travels through the ceiling to cool the interior spaces.


Team Texas finished in 18th place with a total of 776.454 points.

Team Texas finished in 18th place with a total of 776.454 points.



The students learned how the lighting could be changed with the app and were duly impressed.

All of the teams achieved really amazing learning accomplishments in the Solar Decathlon 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. They all 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 (three esteemed people) within 10 events.

Features and technologies sections from

Visit the team’s website:



Keya Lea

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

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.