4D Home

Team Massachusetts designed the New England-inspired 4D Home for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. This solar-powered prototype is an affordable, ultra-efficient house that can adapt to a family's changing needs. The team hopes the 4D Home will serve as a precedent for home builders and designers creating sustainable homes in New England.

Design Philosophy
Team Massachusetts is concerned about the negative consequences of using nonrenewable energy sources for the built environment. Yet using renewable energy for buildings is successful only when baseline energy consumption is minimized through passive strategies. The 4D Home integrates efficient technology and passive strategies without compromising simplicity.

4D Home demonstrates how dynamic interior spaces can make compact living viable for a small family. Features include:

An exterior composed of fiber cement board and wood-clad windows

Asymmetrical timber trellises that provide seasonal shading and a covered transition to the interior

A two-bedroom layout that is easily reconfigured by two sliding partition walls

Furniture, decor, and housewares designed and fabricated by student team members.

Team Massachusetts has integrated efficient and easy-to-use technologies into 4D Home. These include:

A 28-panel photovoltaic array of monocrystalline silicon cells that are 19.1% efficient

Hybrid solar thermal panels mounted behind the photovoltaic modules for efficient heat transfer to the domestic hot water system

Blown fiberglass and closed-cell polyurethane spray foam insulation for air tightness

A refrigerator that uses less electricity per year than a 60-W lightbulb.

Market Strategy
The 4D Home is a 945-ft2 (88-m2), two-bedroom house for a family of three living in New England. Specifically, the single-family house is designed for a mid-thirties couple with a young child and an annual household income of around $100,000.

What's Next
Team Massachusetts is committed to finding a family to purchase and live in the house immediately after the competition. The home will be located in New England, where its performance will be monitored as the family lives in it.

Description from the architects


10 photos, 2 videos and 3 drawings

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated 97 media and updated
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com