Launch Slideshow

The systems in the North House can be accessed in a variety of ways: from a Web-based application, through on-site touchscreens, or from the users iPod or iPhone.

Award: North House

Award: North House

  • The systems in the North House can be accessed in a variety of ways: from a Web-based application, through on-site touchscreens, or from the users iPod or iPhone.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp7BD0%2Etmp_tcm20-565842.jpg

    The systems in the North House can be accessed in a variety of ways: from a Web-based application, through on-site touchscreens, or from the users iPod or iPhone.

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    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    The systems in the North House can be accessed in a variety of ways: from a Web-based application, through on-site touchscreens, or from the users iPod or iPhone. This allows residents to track information and to control the houses systems remotely, ensuring that energy savings can be maximized even when the house isnt occupied.

  • Individual systems are integrated into the Central Home Automation master system, which monitors energy usage and production for the houses occupants.

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    Individual systems are integrated into the Central Home Automation master system, which monitors energy usage and production for the houses occupants.

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    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    Individual systems are integrated into the Central Home Automation master system, which monitors energy usage and production for the houses occupants. The data is stored and presented on a series of touchscreen panels inside the home that allow the user to change settings, track systems, and chart energy usage over time.

  • The house is clad in a Distributed Responsive System of Skins prototype that includes deployable exterior shades over quadruple-glazed IGUs and a series of building-integrated photovoltaic panels that generate electricity.

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    The house is clad in a Distributed Responsive System of Skins prototype that includes deployable exterior shades over quadruple-glazed IGUs and a series of building-integrated photovoltaic panels that generate electricity.

    600

    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    The house is clad in a Distributed Responsive System of Skins prototype that includes deployable exterior shades over quadruple-glazed IGUs and a series of building-integrated photovoltaic panels that generate electricity. The skin allows maximum light transmittance while retaining heat for passive heating in the winter months, and the shades can be deployed to reduce heat gain during the summer.

  • Close-up of shade and vertical photovoltaic systems.

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    Close-up of shade and vertical photovoltaic systems.

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    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    Close-up of shade and vertical photovoltaic systems.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/NorthHouseAxon_tcm20-571222.jpg

    600

    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

  • Solar power (from the façade photovoltaic (PV) array and an additional applied array of PV cells on the roof) and hot water production are tracked through to the end use, whether that is warm water for showers or a surplus of energy returned to the power grid.

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    Solar power (from the façade photovoltaic (PV) array and an additional applied array of PV cells on the roof) and hot water production are tracked through to the end use, whether that is warm water for showers or a surplus of energy returned to the power grid.

    600

    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    Solar power (from the façade photovoltaic (PV) array and an additional applied array of PV cells on the roof) and hot water production are tracked through to the end use, whether that is warm water for showers or a surplus of energy returned to the power grid.

  • Control Panel

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    Control Panel

    600

    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    Control Panel

  • The software behind the building management system is based on open-source calendar and social networking programs, which promote accessibility.

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    The software behind the building management system is based on open-source calendar and social networking programs, which promote accessibility.

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    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    The software behind the building management system is based on open-source calendar and social networking programs, which promote accessibility. Users can translate energy savings into dollar amounts and track and chart resource usage without needing an extensive training regimen.

  • Charting Electricity Consumption

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    Charting Electricity Consumption

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    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    Charting Electricity Consumption

  • Charting Resource Use Over Time

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    Charting Resource Use Over Time

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    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    Charting Resource Use Over Time

  • To optimize the house's interior, the team designed a custom ceiling treatment with 4,500 individually formed cells made from window-shade material.

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    To optimize the house's interior, the team designed a custom ceiling treatment with 4,500 individually formed cells made from window-shade material.

    600

    Courtesy RVTR/Team North

    To optimize the house's interior, the team designed a custom ceiling treatment with 4,500 individually formed cells made from window-shade material. The cells both reduce sound reflectivity and pick up natural light at the perimeter, helping to project and diffuse it further into the floor plate. Phase-changing materials in the floor store heat from the sun's rays and radiate it out during cold winter nights, an energy savings that can be tracked on the integrated touchscreens. Making the most of the small floor plan is a deployable bed, which can be retracted into the ceiling when not in use.

Designed and built for the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, this solar-powered, 800-square-foot prototype house is tailor-made for northern climates. The project combines a responsive louver and building-integrated solar-panel skin with a savvy interior that contributes to the overall building performance.

Any architect pursuing LEED points knows that the actions of the occupant can have more impact on a building’s energy performance than any single technology, so the team concentrated on developing a building management system—called the Adaptive Living Interface System (ALIS)—that is both easy to use and informative. The program collects data and monitors energy use and production, water use, and indoor and outdoor environmental conditions. This information can be accessed via a Web-based application that parses the data and can track patterns over months or years.

Since changes can be made and monitored in real time, touchscreen panels are integrated throughout the house and translate information into a dollar figure of savings or expenditures for the day. And to make monitoring simple, the design team based the system on open-source calendar and social networking softwares that are easy to use and require no new learned skills. It was this level of integration that intrigued juror Cristobal Correa. “They looked at all the systems and they talk about the user. It’s very important for these things to actually interact with the user—this house is like a living thing,” he said.

Energy usage is also minimized by the smart interior design, which incorporates elements such as a custom cellular ceiling. Composed of 4,500 individually formed cones, the ceiling is made from window-shade material that helps to absorb reflected sound and direct light from the perimeter further into the core of the space, an added functionality that impressed juror Frank Barkow. “I really like the ceiling idea,” he said, “especially the components that made it and how it was conditioned by local and general lighting conditions.” The jury admired the house’s overall combination of form and function, but it was the monitoring system that especially caught their attention.