FLeX House
Team Florida's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry, FLeX House, is a prefabricated prototype that combines the wisdom of Florida residential design with modern technology. The house opens up to take advantage of passive cooling during mild months and closes down to take advantage of the highly efficient mechanical systems during months of temperature extremes. This hybrid open-and-closed building type is conducive to a healthy indoor/outdoor Florida lifestyle.

Design Philosophy
FLeX House is designed as a sustainable house that can adapt easily to different site situations and plan configurations. The house can be shipped on one truck and quickly deployed at the building site. A variety of space-conserving design strategies gives residents of FLeX House an affordable, functional, and comfortable living environment in an unconventionally small footprint.

Features that distinguish FLeX House include:
A shading structure with cypress louvers that shield the roof and walls from the hot Florida sun
A wall along the north side that opens to enable passive cooling
A landscape that provides food, modifies the microclimate, reduces solar heat gain, and prevents storm water runoff
Exterior walls with corrugated metal siding, chosen for its reflectivity, durability, and economy.

FLeX House is designed to take advantage of Florida's mild climate as much as possible. To supplement passive strategies, the following technologies contribute to the house's performance:
A zoned mini-split system that heats and cools the house in conjunction with a heat pump and solar thermal panels
A liquid desiccant duct system that connects to an energy recovery ventilator to dehumidify incoming air
A 22-panel photovoltaic array rated at 5 kW with one micro-inverter for every pair of panels
Systems control and diagnostic software that monitors more than 35 channels of data.

Market Strategy
The FLeX House base module is designed for a young couple or a couple with a small child living in Central Florida on a moderate income. As the family grows, new modules can be added to the base to expand the living space.

What's Next
After Solar Decathlon 2011, FLeX House will return to the University of South Florida's Tampa campus, where it will become a solar energy learning center for the Tampa Bay area. In addition, FLeX House will be a living laboratory for testing emerging technologies, sustainable building materials, and efficient systems for use in the Florida house of the future. Description by architects


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Building Activity

  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated 42 media, updated a digital reference, updated, added a digital reference and uploaded 7 media
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    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com