Santa Clara Students Design Fantastic Efficient House

The Solar Decathlon, a competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, will be taking place in October, pitting teams of college students against each other to design houses that are energy efficient, affordable and aesthetically pleasing. EarthTechling reports that the team from Santa Clara University (SCU) has unveiled their entry into the competition, and it's definitely going to turn some heads when they transport it down to Irvine, California, for the Decathlon.

One of the most notable features of the structure, which they have named "Radiant House", is its cutting-edge solar panel mounting system. Their racking apparatus requires lower costs and is integrated into the roof much more seamlessly than a typical rooftop solar panel system would be.

The house also has its own smartphone app that allows the homeowner to shut off lights, heating and air conditioning from anywhere in the house.

The SCU team has competed in past Decathlons, placing third twice. While they say they focused on engineering in their first competition and design in their second, the Radiant House is an effort to bridge the gap between those two disciplines.

The Decathlon is an exciting opportunity for students and the public to reflect on sustainable architecture and how green building methods can be brought to a wider audience. Typically we associate energy efficiency and green construction methods with more expensive homes, but the goal of the Decathlon is to demonstrate that clean technology isn't a luxury that only the wealthy can afford. With Radiant House – which the SCU team says was built at two-thirds the cost of their previous Decathlon entries – the public now has a model for how sustainability can be incorporated into a middle-class lifestyle.

Check back again with for more news about the Solar Decathlon and green living.

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