In the Affordability contest of the 2013 Solar Decathlon, the Start.Home by Team Stanford came in at a cost of $234,092, which fell under the $250,000 benchmark set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and landed it in a three-way tie for first along with Teams Norwich and Kentuckiana, whose completed houses cost $168,385 and $248,423, respectively. The average house cost for the competition was approximately $279,345, and the Team UNC had the highest expenditure at $350,686. Each of the three teams winning teams for the Affordability contest had projects costs below the DOE's benchmark and earned the full 100 points available for this segment, one of the 10 contests in the Decathlon.


Affordability Contest Results

Rank | Team | Points awarded
Tie 1. Stanford   100.000
Tie 1. Norwich   100.000
Tie 1. Kentucky/Indiana   100.000
2. Team Ontario   99.242
3. Middlebury College   98.692

Although several teams in this year’s competition used steel framing to support their solar panels, Team Stanford opted for an all-wood construction, both to save costs and to fit in with the Start.Home’s projected site at Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Designed around a mechanical space at its core, the Start.Home uses SIP (structural insulated panel) construction to provide the building's structure and thermal envelope. Team Stanford project manager Derek Ouyang envisions the Start.Home as a prototype that could be mass-produced in a carlike assembly, with the mechanical core being the home’s engine, and SIPs comprising the chassis. Public and private zones around the core would be customized to suit a homeowner’s needs and budget.

Ecobuildingpulse.com produced the above video of an interview with Team Stanford project manager Derek Ouyang.

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