Green House

Rice solar house is pretty darn cool

Rice solar house is pretty darn cool

Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University's green wall provides passive cooling and aesthetic appeal to their solar-powered house during the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University students assemble their solar hot-water collector on the roof of their house during the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Students at Rice University save energy by drying their laundry in the sun. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Mall, Washington, D.C. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Catie Beckhorn, 13, front, who is working on her school report on the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, writes down information about Rice University's green wall used to provide passive cooling and aesthetic appeal for their solar-powered house. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House with the Capitol building in the background, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), center, poses for a photo with Rice University students in front of their solar-powered house. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
The Rice University team designed the dining table for affordability by using Ikea elements. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House bathroom, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice University ZEROW House bedroom, Solar Decathlon 2009 Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house
Rice Solar Decathlon, ZEROW house

Tourists at the National Mall in D.C. to check out the Smithsonian or the Washington Monument were recently treated to another architectural sight—20 houses under construction smack in the middle of everything. It was all part of the fourth annual Solar Decathlon, an annual event designed to inspire creative problem-solving and encourage alternative energy in homes.

The Rice University team's design was based on the architecture of the shotgun homes in the Third Ward, dubbed the ZEROW House to signify both the use of zero outside energy and it's ultimate destination as part of the Project Row Houses. It ultimately finished the competition in eighth, but ranked second in architecture and market viability and, coming in at under $100,000 without the cost of the solar panels, was by far the most affordable structure. As The Huffington Post noted, the decision to produce just enough electricity to power the house was practical for the market but hurt their overall score.

Lead student designer David Dewane told the Rice Design Alliance's OffCite blog, "It’s a good year to be the affordable team. That’s not going to matter as much to the jury as it does to the 120,000 people who walk through. Those are the people we are trying to communicate the message to that solar energy is really accessible."

OffCite also has a great photo diary of the team as they put together their house, and check out our slide show of the final result.

ADVERTISEMENT
Learn More