Students from the University of Southern California are developing a model for energy efficient and low-cost housing for their surrounding climate. The fluxHome is a prefabricated and modular home that incorporates innovative technologies and solar power. Light wells and patios encourage outdoor living while showering the home with daylight and allowing for fresh breezes. USC's fluxHome is one of 20 prefab, solar homes competing in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, and with the competition taking place in Irvine, this team has home court advantage.
The fluxHome is based on a modular and prefab kit of parts with a simple, yet flexible design that could be utilized to create low-cost housing on a larger scale. ProgramPods are pre-defined rooms and modules that can be arranged and finished according to the owner’s needs and lifestyles. For the 2013 Solar Decathlon, USC’s team has created a 34′ x 32′ single story home with two bedrooms, sleeping porches and lots of indoor-outdoor living space. Light wells and courtyards pull daylight and natural ventilation into the home and work to reduce artificial lighting and climate control.
The exterior is clad in a rain screen and then a series of laser-cut metal panels specifically designed to regulate light, shade, breezes and privacy depending on their location. Owners of the home can monitor and control the home’s active and passive systems through an intuitive user interface with an iPad or smart phone. USC’s team is also focussed on solutions within the home that reduce water consumption and encourage reuse and conservation. A flat roof is outfitted with the home’s solar systems to make the home net zero energy.
Students are currently under construction and fine-tuning their strategies for the upcoming fall competition in Irvine, CA. Most teams will be traveling a great distance with their prefab, solar homes, but USC will just have to drive across the city. Knowledge of the region and climate could give them a leg up in the competition especially for the solar and energy portions.
Images ©USC fluxHome