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2013 Solar Decathlon: UrbanEden

UNC Charlotte

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U.S. Department of Energy

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Student Work
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Project Description


UrbanEden is a net-zero energy solar powered home designed for the city of Charlotte, NC. Envisioned as an urban infill project for young professionals or empty-nesters, the house design is defined by a strong connection between indoor and outdoor living areas; even in an urban context, the outdoor living area allows one to privately enjoy the outdoors.
Urban Eden is a tree planted in the forest of the city. Designed for Charlotte’s temperate climate and increasingly urban lifestyle, the house blurs the line between inside and out by creating a series of connected indoor and outdoor rooms that combine into a single healthy environment. The interior is adaptable to maximize comfort year round and seamlessly connected to a private, plant-filled, exterior living space that is sunny in winter and shady in summer. Innovations in concrete and glass technology combined with creative use of simple technologies, allow light-bathed urban garden living that is completely powered, heated, and even cooled by the sun.
UrbanEden is perfect for young urban professionals or empty nesters who want the convenience and culture of the city, with the benefits of a conscious connection to natural systems: sun, water, wind, and plants. Through a design strategy that emphasizes energy efficiency, on-site energy production, and resource harvesting, careful materials choices, and the intangible benefits of a connection to nature, UrbanEden supports a low-impact, luxurious lifestyle.
Work began on the design in October 2011. The UNC Charlotte team began construction of its solar house in March 2013 and will complete construction this summer before transporting the house to California in September 2013. The competition takes place October 3-13, 2013.

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