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SOLAR DECATHLON 2009: Rice University’s $140,000 ZEROW House Keeps Up With the High Rollers
Posted By Rebecca Paul On October 9, 2009 @ 1:01 pm In Architecture,Solar Decathlon,Solar Power,Sustainable Building | 3 Comments
The Solar Decathlon , the super solar architecture competition held in Washington D.C. bi-annually, officially kicked off today , and Rice University ‘s awesomely affordable ZEROW House  is already making waves. The first round of evaluations took place yesterday, and this low-budget underdog placed 4th among the twenty competitors after being recognized in the categories Comfort Zone  and Appliances . What is most impressive about this team is that the average budget of the 20 solar decathlon houses  at the mall is $490,000, while the ZEROW home was built for only $140,000!!! Even more impressive, the ZEROW House  was designed specifically for Houston’s Third Ward Neighborhood as part of Project Row House  – an organization that seeks to develop housing for low-to moderate-income families.
The ZEROW team’s momentum has been going strong since day one, allowing them to be the first to both complete their house and pass all of their inspections. As of yesterday, the ZEROW House  was able to create 29 kilowatt hours of surplus energy  since they began measuring back on Tuesday. Taking advantage of smart passive design strategies  allow the shotgun style  ZEROW House  to generate enough energy using solar technology to run off of the electric grid, utilizing off-the-shelf photovoltaic panels  that any home owner could purchase. These panels allow the ZEROW House  to supply itself with more then enough energy to operate the ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, heating, appliances, lighting and give it hot water for the laundry, kitchen and bathroom.
In addition to the home’s solar thermal collector which absorbs thermal energy from the sun and converts it into usable heat, the home utilizes lysine, spray-foam insulation to minimize air leakage in the walls. LED lighting is used throughout the house, and the average wattage for a fixture inside the ZEROW House  is three watts, maintaining the total wattage at below 200. They used Galvalume siding for the exterior because it is low maintenance, able to resist corrosion in the humid southern climate and made from 25 to 35 percent recycled materials. Bamboo floors run throughout the home as a fast-growing alternative to wood that is more durable then laminate. Boosting both the aesthetic appeal of the home and the solar shading  is a green wall that features native plants such as coral honeysuckle and star jasmine to unite the house with its surroundings and contribute to passive cooling by shading the south side exterior from excessive heat gain.
+ ZEROW House 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/rice-universitys-low-budget-zerow-house-keeps-up-with-the-high-rollers/
URLs in this post:
 Solar Decathlon: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-decathlon/
 kicked off today: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/10/09/solar-decathlon-showcases-stunning-homes-powered-by-the-sun/
 Rice University: http://www.rice.edu/
 ZEROW House: http://www.ricesolardecathlon.org/
 Comfort Zone: http://www.solardecathlon.org/contest_comfort_zone.cfm
 Appliances: http://www.solardecathlon.org/contest_appliances.cfm
 Project Row House: http://projectrowhouses.org/
 energy: http://www.inhabitat.com/energy
 passive design strategies: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/05/08/residence-passive-solar-cascade-house/
 shotgun style: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_house
 photovoltaic panels: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-power
 Solar Decathlon photos: http://www.inhabitat.com/wp-content/plugins/falbum/wp/album.php?album=72157622117669557
 + Solar Decathlon 2007: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/10/19/inhabitat-reports-from-solar-decathlon-photos/
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