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2013 Solar Decathlon: Ecohabit House

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

2013 Solar Decathlon: Ecohabit House

Project Status

Student Work


U.S. Department of Energy

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Project Description


Our home redefines the relationship between a home and its user. Ecohabit creates a new mindset of interaction between a house and its user, their patterns, building systems and its regional climate. This enables the user to cohabit with the house, learning from each other to create a more energy-efficient, sustainable life.
Fully equipped with Smart Sensors, the house is able to compile data from its inhabitants and the exterior environment and adjust accordingly to provide the most efficient levels of operation at any given time. With this technology, the home is able to monitor specific weather patterns, the habits of the users, and the energy usage in order to create the most comfortable and energy efficient living environment possible. These sensors also have the ability to provide the homeowner with hot water on demand when it is needed, ensuring that no energy goes to waste by unnecessarily waiting for the water to warm. All of these controls are made easily accessible to the user at the touch of a button through customized smart device application software.
Ecohabit implements green wall and green roof technology, both of which are covered by living plants and growing vegetation. The benefits of this technology include reducing rainwater runoff, creating heat insulation, and improving air quality. The flora in Ecohabit helps to reduce air pollution and promotes important ecological functions such as pollination, decomposition, and pest control.
Living outdoors is a central component to our house’s design and use of space. The exterior glass walls of the house fold open, offering an expansion of living space and natural ventilation on days when the climate is ideal. The large roof overhang provides shading for the patio and allows for outdoor dining and entertainment.

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