For the Architecture contest of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, teams are required to…
The Ohio State University's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entry, enCORE, presents a family-friendly solution for residential needs while addressing the world's growing energy problem. enCORE features living spaces arranged around a central core that contains the house's mechanical and plumbing systems. The flexible, interconnected design gives this 930-ft2 (86-m2) solar-powered house the same functionality and livability of projects much larger in size and budget.
enCORE creates balance among necessities, environmental sensibilities, economics, and aesthetics through a holistic design approach. An adjustable exterior screen provides privacy and protection from the sun, a bioremediation system filters rainwater and brings nature close to the house's residents, and a dynamic plan that extends outward from a consolidated building core provides generous living spaces inside and out.
enCORE embodies an approach that places a high priority on maximizing passive performance. Features include:
State-of-the-art triple-glazed windows that minimize heat loss while maximizing solar gain
A super-insulated exterior envelope with double the insulation value of conventional homes
Natural lighting throughout the house based on activity areas.
Through a combination of low-cost passive measures and the thoughtful use of technology, enCORE is cost-effective and ultra-efficient. Technological solutions include:
A flat-plate solar thermal collector in combination with a heat pump water heater to further improve energy efficiency
A unique solar thermal hot air system to maximize occupant comfort and minimize energy consumption
An 8-kW photovoltaic array that consists entirely of thin-film panels manufactured locally in Toledo, Ohio
A simple control interface that controls lighting, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems with an intuitive and informative touch-screen display.
Many neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio, would benefit from redevelopment and rejuvenation. enCORE is a proposal for a residential neighborhood with an average income that is lower than the rest of the city. A sustainable house will ultimately save money for residents while promoting sustainable practices in the community.
Following the competition, enCORE will return to The Ohio State University campus to serve as an educational tool. After one year, the house will be sited in a low-income neighborhood, where it will become a family residence.
Description from the architects