Keya Lea

USC Creates the fluxHome

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The University of Southern California designed a prototype for a new residential model called the fluxHome. It placed 1st in Appliances and 3rd in Architecture.  It also placed 1st in Energy Balance, making more solar energy than the house needed or used. The overall cost of the house with the installed energy system and appliances included is $286,500.

The fluxHome is a modernist approach to solar efficient living.

The fluxHome is a modernist approach to solar efficient living.

The Solar Decathlon truly tests a home’s performance by putting it through 10 different competitions. In order to receive a score in the Entertainment event, each team must host two dinner parties and screen an accompanying film. 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, using blenders for drinks (chilled apple, celery, mint agave water), making multi-course meals and leaving the lights on. It’s all powered by the sun.

Here are the Dinner Menus and Recipes from the University of Southern California (lightweight 28 page pdf – great recipes, no pictures).

Photo Gallery

I toured the fluxHome during the public open hours of the Solar Decathlon. 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.

Features

  • The material palette consists of sustainable and recycled materials.
  • Modular, prefabricated furniture elements combine off-the-shelf components with digital fabrication technology and enable occupants to customize their living space.
  • Retractable skylights, operable windows, light shelves, baffles, and sliding and folding window walls enable occupants to easily regulate their environment and privacy.
  • A centralized courtyard, porch, and veranda contain vertical gardens and living walls to merge the indoors with the outdoors.
  • Vertical gardens and lawns filter the air and allow users to grow their own vegetables and herbs with minimal water via a drip irrigation system.
  • A smart home automation system monitors passive and active energy systems and can be controlled with a mobile device.

 

 

Technologies

  • Light and air are used to improve indoor comfort and integrate complicated automation systems.
  • A compact, efficient building form and rain screen faҫade minimize solar heat gain while maximizing insulation and thermal equilibrium.
  • A solar chimney with a retractable skylight modulates sunlight and air for natural ventilation and daylighting and connects users to the outdoor environment by framing the sky.
  • A combination heat pump system provides heating, cooling, and domestic hot water in one product.
  • Ambient light-emitting diode lighting and daylighting used throughout the house minimize energy loads, while innovative light shelves and window hoods provide shading.

 

The team finished in 10th place with a total of  906,203 points.

The team finished in 10th place with a total of 906,203 points.

All of the teams learned a lot 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.

USC Visitors

Visitors line up to see the Solar Decathlon home from the University of Southern California.

The final score is a summation of task completion, monitored performance of the homes and jury evaluations within 10 events.

Features and technologies sections from solardecathlon.gov.

Visit the team’s website: http://solardecathlon.usc.edu.

 

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