For the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign returns with Re_home, a rapid-response solution for a family affected by natural disaster. The solar-powered Re_ home uses a rapid deployment strategy to offer an immediate and sustainable solution for a family left without a home. By combining good design, smart planning, and low-cost solutions, the Re_ home responds to the physical and emotional needs of impacted families while bringing environmentally aware living to the forefront of a community-led recovery effort.

Design Philosophy
The Re_home is based on the principles of sustainability, flexibility, and ease of construction. The house consists of two modules that can be transported on one trailer for rapid response to disaster situations. The photovoltaic system can be installed flat on the roof prior to shipment. When the house reaches its destination, the panels can be lifted to the optimal angle for sun exposure and used immediately.
The Re_home includes a number of creatively planned interior spaces. A large central living area allows for community gatherings and offers natural lighting and innovative storage spaces. The living room leads to a small flexible space for an office that could transform into bedroom space.

Re_home offers:
Photovoltaic panels that act as a shading canopy across the southern face of the house to protect it from overheating
Exterior paneling made from 60% rice husks, 22% common salt, and 18% mineral oil that can be personalized with different finishes.

Re_home employs readily available technological solutions for increased efficiency and comfort. These include:
A centrally located air-source heat pump with a forced air distribution system to heat and cool the two zones of the living space
Conditioning system fans that exchange interior and exterior air while energy is recovered across the heat-pump refrigeration cycle.

Market Strategy
The Re_home is a relief house for a family as a community rebuilds after natural disaster. The team focused on a couple with an infant whose home has been struck by a tornado. Re_home suits a household of this size and offers the flexibility of converting the office space into a bedroom when the infant is older. In addition, the garden space surrounding the exterior allows the family to produce its own food.

What's Next
The team is working with the University of Illinois to determine the best use for the Re_home in the future. Ideally, the team would use the house for its intended purpose by offering it to a family in need.


7 photos

Building Activity

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