Sustainable design doesn't have to be expensive. That's the belief behind Santa Clara University's Radiant House, a solar-powered modular home. The concept honors what the design team calls the three E's: efficiency, elegance and economy. To this end, the home is built entirely out of bamboo and is designed carefully to celebrate the marriage between private and public use.
Bamboo is a very sustainable material; because it is a grass and grows very quickly, unlike slow-growing trees like oak or pine. So the team decided to built the entire home out of bamboo. Even the cabinets in the kitchen are made out of bamboo.
Outside, the home is built around a central deck, which creates a natural gathering place. The home consists of three individual modules — two that make up the public space, including an open living, dining and kitchen area. The third module makes up the private space with a bedroom and work area. The bedroom has its own private deck, for those times when you need to be alone.
The roof was built separately from the home and then lifted by crane to be set in place. This way the roof could be moved easily and the solar panels could be installed with more ease. The Radiant House is Santa Clara University’s entry for the US Department of Energy’s 2013 Solar Decathlon and demonstrates a marriage between state-of-the-art technology and affordability.