Ecobuildingpulse.com produced the above video of an interview with Team Austria engineers Marcus Jones and Sabrina Novalin.

Team Austria won the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif., with its LISI (Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation) House. LISI, wrapped in lasercut white curtains, took the top combined score from the ten sub-competitions making up the Decathlon, winning the juried Communications contest, placing second in the Market Appeal contest, and tying for first with perfect scores in the measured Hot Water and Energy Balance categories. One of two European teams in this year’s U.S. Solar Decathlon, first-time participant Team Austria found the challenge of building in southern California complex, but managed to overcome geographical distance and cultural difference to win.


Although the bedroom and bathroom in LISI were cozy by U.S. standards, the combined kitchen and entertainment area, which open to patios at the north and south, maximized livable space behind the veil of exterior curtains while maintaining a connection to the outdoors. Members of Team Austria—comprised of students from Vienna University of Technology, St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, and the Austrian Institute of Technology—described the concept of LISI as being composed like a tree. “Austria is almost half covered by forests,” says Sabrina Novalin, engineer for Team Austria. “The materials that you’re surrounded with in nature we wanted to reflect in our design. The house is more than 90% made of wood.” Extensive use of wood and wood pulp as the primary building materials underscored the metaphor of trunklike core supporting a branchlike cornice, while the apertures cut into the façade curtains allowed dappled light and shadow to produce the effect of a forest canopy.

Overall Results

Rank | Team | Points awarded
1. Team Austria   951.922
2. Las Vegas   947.572
3. Czech Republic   945.142
4. Stevens   939.176
5. Stanford   933.125
See all of the entries to the 2013 Solar Decathlon in ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.

“As you come around the corner and enter the Solar Village, I think our house really stands out,” says Marcus Jones, a member of Team Austria. “It’s such an honor to have come all this way, and to have achieved this.” 

LISI, by Team Austria, was the winning entry in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

LISI, by Team Austria, was the winning entry in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Credit: Courtesy Deane Madsen


Congratulations to Team Austria, and to all the rest of the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon participants.

Visit Ecobuildingpulse's landing page for all things 2013 Solar Decathlon.