The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is throwing everything they’ve got into the Re_house for this year's Solar Decathlon, but they're still keeping costs in check. The main focus of the project is to design high-quality house that can be quickly mobilized for emergencies. The home will be very much a plug-and-play operation, providing all the creature comforts of a regular home, but without the environmental impact. The home's modernist bend is fun, but not too radical, making it a viable design for many neighborhoods. But best of all, the team was able to keep the price under $250k which, for a house that probably will never see an energy bill, is a great deal.
With a compact design, wrap-around shade and vertical siding, the design is a bit reminiscent of Michelle Kaufmann’s MkLotus house. While designing the home, the student design/build team kept a small family who lost their home to a tornado in mind. The Re-home is two modules that can fit on a single trailer and be setup on-site in a day.
The home’s 7.2 kW solar array can be tilted to maximize sun exposure and power the air source heat pump. AC and heating is distributed by an all-in-one Central Energy Recovery Ventilation system that also pumps in fresh air and removes the stale. A super-insulated wall and roof utilize spray foam, which also tightly seals the house envelope while stiffening it in the event of a natural disaster.
The siding is a mix of cedar strips and composite product that uses rice husks and minerals as its main ingredients. Reclaimed wood and recycled content material help finish the interior. A straightforward floorplan houses two bedrooms, bath, kitchen, and living room in 978 square feet.
Photos © Solar Decathlon UIUC