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Team Austria Wins the 2013 Solar Decathlon With Their Net-Zero LISI House 50

Posted by timothy
from the soaking-it-up dept.
formaggio writes "Team Austria was just announced the overall winner of the 2013 Solar Decathlon for their beautiful LISI House. With its elegant and innovative moving curtain facade, a simple form, and a strong emphasis placed on creating a seamless space that combines outdoor and indoor living, the stunning net-zero home is a versatile enough for life in both sunny California or the team's more temperate native land."
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Team Austria Wins the 2013 Solar Decathlon With Their Net-Zero LISI House

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  • Net Zero was my first ISP. Not sure how a NEW home can be environmentally good. You want good for the environment then move back in with your parents.
  • A shining success (Score:2, Informative)

    by jamesl (106902)

    "The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011."
    http://www.solardecathlon.gov/about.html [solardecathlon.gov]

    The number of solar powered houses throughout the developed world has soared since this program was started eleven years ago. And it is only because of effective programs such as this that these money saving and environment sparing technologies have entered main stream home building.

    • I'd rather have a hobbit home than something built on Vulcan.

    • by icebike (68054)

      The number of solar powered houses throughout the developed world has soared since this program was started eleven years ago. And it is only because of effective programs such as this that these money saving and environment sparing technologies have entered main stream home building.

      Jeeze, do you work for those guys or what?

      The number of homes having a modest amount of solar collection (of one form or another) which is almost universally
      insufficient to supply the needs of the home, while being prohibitively expensive at the same time has grown.

      Don't get me wrong, that's not half bad, but it certainly doesn't qualify as solar powered.

      • by swillden (191260)

        The number of homes having a modest amount of solar collection (of one form or another) which is almost universally insufficient to supply the needs of the home, while being prohibitively expensive at the same time has grown

        I know slashdot tradition is to comment without reading TFA, but you should really give it a try in this case. Especially interesting are the teams' video presentations.

        Don't get me wrong, that's not half bad, but it certainly doesn't qualify as solar powered.

        The winning design produces more power than it consumes. If that doesn't qualify, what does?

        • by icebike (68054)

          How about you reading the thread before jumping in?

          The GP said

          The number of solar powered houses throughout the developed world has soared since this program was started eleven years ago.

          Which is hogwash unless you think ONE demonstration home in a warm climate constitutes "soaring".

          Move that house to Minnesota and live in it for a year then come back here and get up on your hind legs amd lecture us on the wonders of bubble wrap.

          • by swillden (191260)

            The number of solar powered houses throughout the developed world has soared since this program was started eleven years ago.

            Which is hogwash unless you think ONE demonstration home in a warm climate constitutes "soaring".

            There are a number of solar-powered homes in my area, which isn't a particularly warm climate (Colorado). How much of that is due to the competition? Probably not a lot, but I'll bet it's had some effect, particularly on the homes that were designed from the outset to be solar-powered rather than just retrofitted with solar-heated water pipes and some PV arrays.

            I don't have any hard numbers, but I'll bet there are a lot more solar-powered homes today than there were 11 years ago.

            Move that house to Minnesota and live in it for a year then come back here and get up on your hind legs amd lecture us on the wonders of bubble wrap.

            Why would I want to live i

            • by icebike (68054)

              There are a number of solar-powered homes in my area, which isn't a particularly warm climate (Colorado).

              There are a lot of houses with solar collectors. There probably isn't one house anywhere in the state that is Solar Powered.
              Check for a power meter or power lines running to the house before you make (or believe) ridiculous claims.

              • by swillden (191260)

                There are a number of solar-powered homes in my area, which isn't a particularly warm climate (Colorado).

                There are a lot of houses with solar collectors. There probably isn't one house anywhere in the state that is Solar Powered. Check for a power meter or power lines running to the house before you make (or believe) ridiculous claims.

                Bah. You have no idea what you're talking about.

                First of all, a house can have power lines and still be solar powered. Many solar-powered homes use the grid as their storage facility. Most of them actually generate more power than they consume, net, but the grid tie is still very valuable.

                Second, if you get out in the sticks (there are a lot of mountain homes), there are many houses which are not connected to the grid at all. Not that they wouldn't like to be able to use grid storage, but it's simply no

          • You do know that "The World" is bigger than Minnesota right? I live in Australia (Not Austria), we have thousands of solar powered houses (ie generate more power electricity than they use) most of these have been constructed/converted in the last 11 years. An average house only needs a 3-5kw PV system to be net zero. These systems retail for a few thousand dollars, or about 3 years worth of electricity bills.
    • Programs like this need to incorporate things like comfort, convenience, price, durability etc., you know, things we all look for when buying stuff, that are comparable with or superior to the current norms, and not just energy efficiency. It is easy to make things more energy efficient; we can all live in huts, give up our cars for bicycles, throw out our washing machines, driers and air-conditioners, drink filtered rain water and grow vegetables in our backyards. But we don't want to give up things which

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Take another look at the competition, the goal is definitely not a hut. The categories they compete on include "market appeal", "comfort zone", "home entertainment", "appliances", and "affordability", which would seem to cover what you think this should incorporate.

  • win the award for website design. Jesus, is there a better link to actually view the pics and something sensible about the house?
  • Why is it called a decathlon? The name suggests 10 athletic contests, how is it related?
    • The name suggests 10 athletic contests, how is it related?

      Yeah, I thought they had this race in Australia. I guess this one is about how fast you can drive your solar powered house across the country.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        I made the exact same error, and firmly believed it was australia-related. Only the .gov web site made me re-read and realize the confusion.
  • " the stunning net-zero home is a versatile enough for life in both sunny California or the team's more temperate native land."

    Austria, if I'm not mistaken, can have some pretty heavy snowfall. I have a hard time believing this kind of house is practical in that kind of climate. It seems specifically suited to southern California/Florida climates where homes sometimes don't even have furnaces, let alone have to deal with significant snowfall.

    • I'm not sure what part of California would have homes without furnaces. Every part of California I've lived in or visited has the capability of daytime peaks of around 50F and nighttime lows in the mid-30s, and that's in the warmer parts. Deserts often reach freezing temps during the winter, and the hills and mountains can get pretty chilly, too. Even San Diego can get some winter temps low enough to justify a house heater of some sort.

      • I lived out in San Diego for about 9 months (somewhere around Rancho San Diego I think), If there was a (small) furnace hidden in that house somewhere it never came on the entire time I was there. I can't recall what I would have considered to a "chilly" morning, though being Southern California the varying climates could get crazy. You could be sweating on the patio at lunch, jump in the car and in an hour or two be skiing, another hour drive and you could be in the desert.

  • Just how are those curtains going to deal with a blizzard, a hurricane, a tornado, or any other strong weather event?

    • I imagine you just put them away. The curtained area is sort of like a deck. So you would treat the curtains the same as deck umbrellas.
  • Sprawl Device (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Clearly a suburban sprawl based design, this house depends on a low density environment that, in turn, depends on cars and other huge energy inputs to be functional - ie, the idea that this is "green" or "sustainable" is total bullshit.

    • Frankly you couldn't pay (or convince) me to live in a high density area again, ever.
      Actual high-density dwellings like apartments? Never.

  • Of course Team Austria won.

    But if you are not from a country filled with Kangaroos and Deserts, solar is just not a viable option.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But if you are not from a country filled with Kangaroos and Deserts, solar is just not a viable option.

      The only Kangaroos in Austria are in zoos, and there are no deserts -- Austria is a country next to Germany in Europe. Ignoramus.

    • by Dare nMc (468959)

      You even spelled it correctly in your post, yet confused Austria with Australia. Austria has no desert, Kangaroos, but does seam well enough suited for solar. Although not too surprising for a American to not know Austria, I visited there for a day back in 1995, yet still looked it up on wikipedia :( I felt bad for forgetting I had even been there. (Especially since I wanted to move there so bad, because they had beer dispensing machines for the workplace lunch room, for people who drove mining equipmen

  • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Sunday October 13, 2013 @08:09AM (#45113371)

    And this house crossed the Australian desert in 2 weeks?
    Very impressive. :D

  • If that's the future of housing it will be extremely efficient. At insuring people stay in there existing house instead of buying that monstrosity. It has a kitchen that you could cook a mixed drink it but nothing more. Hard surfaces and right angles, no though of children. Give me a country Victorian any day they naturally cool well and with a little modification can have a nice open floor space and a formal front of house.

  • It's great they have these contests and architects stroke each other with awards, but they never seem turn up in any actual neighborhoods.

    Sometimes it's because concept houses can't get FHA or mortgage approval. The government could help drive innovation in housing by backing the mortgages of energy efficient and solar powered homes.

    Maybe one of these days we'll see an award for a design that's innovative and practical and the FHA will agree to finance borrowers.

    • by westlake (615356)

      It's great they have these contests and architects stroke each other with awards, but they never seem turn up in any actual neighborhoods.

      To keep the peace --- secure a mortgage and the resale value of your home --- you have to fit in with your neighbors. The concept home with one bedroom and a half-bath works only for singles and seniors no matter how attractive its exterior.

  • I looked at the slideshow on the LISI house site, and I don't see anything that looks like a kitchen, anything that looks like a bedroom, or anything that looks like a bathroom.

    Yes, they made a pretty space, but I do not see how it is a space for people to live, and I thought that was the purpose of a house, to be a space for people to live.

    • I don't see anything that looks like a kitchen, anything that looks like a bedroom, or anything that looks like a bathroom.

      It has a kitchen that looks more like a wet bar and a single bathroom and bedroom in its "compact dark service core." Minimalist even by European standards. floor plan [solardecathlon.at]

      It is not in the least surprising that most photographs show only the bright, colorful exterior, garden-like. views.

      There is space here for entertaining but none to raise a family.

  • Anyone have an inside scoop why this design with curtain surround excelled over conventional architecture?
    See plans and specs here: http://1.usa.gov/1fuSR3W [usa.gov]

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      Looks like it'd be a killer bachelor pad for up around the Big Sur, for instance, or some of the other coastal areas - from thirty, forty years ago. You'd want it on some good-sized parcel of land or in a very laid-back neighborhood with astoundingly low crime rates. It's a "pretty" design - and I mean that well.

      I also like the emphasis on wood, based on my own preferences. My personal leanings are retro-fit of a Vic for existing home or build something based on concrete and steel structure, earth shelte

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