Students at Stanford University have a vision for a completely revamped home construction system. Out with the old stick-frame traditional techniques and one-off homes that leak and don't encourage sustainable living - the Start.Home is Stanford's prototype for an efficient home based around a prefabricated mechanical core that contains all the systems necessary for operation. The core acts like the home's brain and heart while the rest of the home is built around it to the client's standards. On view now in Irvine, CA at the 2013 Solar Decathlon, Start.Home is a beautifully finished student project - and it has one of the best outdoor decks amongst all of this year's competitors!
2013 is the first time Stanford has competed in the Solar Decathlon – and they brought an impressive entry to the net-zero home competition. Based on the typical climate for the Palo Alto region, the solar passive home features a rooftop photovoltaic system, natural ventilation, solar shading, and a tight thermal envelope. Due to California’s temperate climate, the student team made extensive use of outdoor space with a large shaded deck. Planter boxes placed around the whole house are filled with edible plants that are watered with recycled greywater from the laundry and sink that is filtered through a Aqua2Use system.
The main difference between the Start.Home and other competitors in this year’s Solar Decathlon is its focus on the core. This prefab core contains all the necessary equipment for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems. Team Stanford envisions this core as the heart of future homes, which can be prefabricated to high specifications and efficiency standards, and then shipped to a site. From there, any home can be built around the core to meet a high level of efficiency.
Stanford also worked hard on a custom web-controlled home management system that also tracks energy and water use. The home is filled with custom light fixtures and furnishings. During construction of the home for the competition, Stanford made use of SolSolution’s portable solar generators to further reduce their impact. After the competition, the Start.Home will find its way back up to the Bay Area to become the home for a Jasper Ridge ranger and his family.
Images ©Mike Chino for Inhabitat