solar decathlon, 2011 solar decathlon, florida international university, eco design, green design, solar arrays, green architecture

Inspired by Paul Rudolph’s Cocoon House, the perFORM[D]ance home is an expansive, single-story layout with wall-to-ceiling windows that add light and open space into the design. The windows not only include a retractable glazing system to protect the home from Floridian heat, but operable louvers can be raised and lowered over the glass for privacy, cooling, and even to protect it from hurricane winds.

The exterior of the home is a sustainable oasis. The large deck includes a beautiful bio-filtration pond, low maintenance flower beds, and an edible garden. The open space is perfect for entertaining, exercising, or relaxing outdoors. An array of photovoltaic panels line the roof of the perFORM[D]ance home, providing air conditioning power, hot water, and electricity for the appliances. This energy is pumped into a central mechanical core, where it is distributed throughout the home in different forms with minimal effort.

Though solar technology is of great importance in the Decathlon, the home’s passive aspects also contribute to its sustainable design. The traditional beach layout of steel and glass with canopy overhangs takes advantage of natural cross-ventilation, depending greatly on shade and daylight for comfort. The overall white hue also effectively reflects of the sun’s rays, keeping the home’s interior cool.

All of the home’s appliances are EnergyStar rated and the cabinets are made of American hardwood known for its low carbon footprint. The bedroom features a Murphy bed that folds into the wall, doubling the room’s potential as a workspace. The house also includes a monitoring station where the inhabitants can measure their energy use and performance from day to day .

After the house returns from the Decathlon, it will serve as a visitor pavilion for the office of sustainability on Florida International University’s campus.

+ U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon

+ Team Florida International University