Ohio State University's 2011 Solar Decathlon submission is a midwestern gem that utilizes small space for optimum efficiency and comfort. The enCORE house hosts 930 square feet of living space built around a central mechanical core, leaving lots of space for work, play, and sleep. The enCORE home is designed for a lower income family with one child. The sustainable design will not only save energy and reduce construction costs, but will also set an example for the community by underscoring the importance of being environmentally conscious.
The most cost-effective feature of the home are the thin film photovoltaics that sit atop the roof. Locally manufactured in Ohio, the thin panels cost nearly 70% less than typical solar arrays. Triple glazed windows that feed in tons of natural light will also save the family money by minimizing heat loss and maximizing solar gain.
The central core of the home is the main hub of efficient mechanics. The bathroom, laundry room, and mechanical room back up to the kitchen in the middle of the home allowing for open space and storage throughout the rest of the building. The mechanical room houses the solar thermal hot air system and water heater. All of the house’s lighting, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems can be monitored and adjusted by a smart phone or remote control within the house.
The spatially efficient design allows for a large kitchen and even a working space between the living and bedrooms, connecting the family in each area of the house. The child’s room includes a Murphy bed which can be folded into the wall to optimize space, allowing the bedroom to act as a play or exercise room as well.
The exterior of the home is also geared towards budget friendly family needs. The slanted roof allows for collecting rain water which is then filtered and reused in the bioremediation flower beds and ponds throughout the home’s outdoor decks. The water is filtered enough to even use within the home. A covered breezeway extends off the living area encouraging natural ventilation while serving as a great outdoor leisure space.
Placing in the top 10 in 2009, the Ohio Sate Team has used their past experience to construct a house that is both efficient and attractive. After the competition, the house will return to Ohio State to be studied for a year, then will become a family residence in Ohio.