Net-Zero Energy Home Takes on Southern California Challenges

Elements from the California poppy will drive a sustainable future that feels like home

For the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, over 15 collegiate teams competed to design energy-efficient, solar-powered houses.Team Orange County, an undergraduate coalition of four universities, took inspiration from nature and created a model home in the midst of a dry-spell and affordable housing crisis.

Called Casa Del Sol, the home embraces a passive solar design as well as the “resilient and diurnal characteristics of the California poppy.” This means that the home follows the patterns of the sun, adjusting to winter and summer months to facilitate more sunlight or create shade. It also includes a veranda equipped with a retractable sun roof and a brise soleil to automatically shield from windy seasons.

In addition to functioning like the flower, the home draws inspiration from other regional factors. Engineering student and project manager Alex McDonald tells PSFK, “The California Poppy is orange, the state flower, and thrives in SoCal. Being a team representing Orange County and the larger swath of SoCal, the Poppy worked in color, scale, and regional significance. Beyond that, the flower opens and closes to the sun and is drought-resistant; two design principals we embraced as our home makes best use of the sun path and associated cool ocean breezes to passively maintain resident comfort and minimize water consumption. And thus, Casa Del Sol, was born.”

read the full article at psfk.com