Team Austria, featuring students from the Vienna University of Technology, won the sixth U.S. Solar Decathlon earlier this month, defeating teams from all over the world in designing a house that is environmentally friendly, relies on solar power, is affordable and is aesthetically pleasing. Their house, called Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation (LISI), incorporated all these features and scored highly in the ten categories used to judge entrants.
The Solar Decathlon is a competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, which challenges groups of students from several universities to build homes that demonstrate the economic viability of green housing. This year's competition took place at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, from October 3 to 13, and featured 19 teams from schools as diverse as Stanford University and Czech Technical University.
The LISI house includes many great eco-friendly features, including:
- A subfloor heating system that regulates heating and cooling
- An herb garden that is irrigated with a rainwater basin
- Photovoltaic panels that produce a net surplus of electricity for the house
- Occupant ability to control temperatures and lighting from a tablet computer.
"LISI will be used by everyone – not just architects, engineers and technicians," Stefan Bachl, a member of Team Vienna, said on the team's website. "Therefore, we strived to understand the needs of its users and build an app which fits into the overall user experience LISI is providing to its habitants. The result is a both well designed and easy to use tablet app that is simple yet feature complete."