ECO-STRUCTURE recently caught up with Dr. Stanley Russell, faculty advisor for FLeXHouse, a joint entry from the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and the University of Florida for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon.

What other sustainable features have you incorporated into your design?

1. A louver structure that shades the entire house from the hot Florida sun.
2. Sliding glass doors that open the house for natural cross ventilation and passive cooling
3. Locally grown wood used on the interior and exterior reduce the carbon footprint
4. Liquid desiccant dehumidification system
5. Solar thermal panels for hot water and space heating
6. A compact design and movable rooms that allow the entire house to be shipped on two trucks

What was the inspiration of your design, and does it display any regional influences?

The wide-shaded porch on the north and the passive cooling by cross ventilation were influenced by Florida vernacular architecture. Paul Rudolf and Sarasota School architecture were an influence on the shading structure around the house.

How has the new affordability criteria affected the design of your house?

The house is designed for mass production to do the following:
1. reduce material and equipment cost from buying in large quantities
2. reduce waste with higher efficiency in a factory
3. reduce labor costs with production line
4. reduce shipping costs with movable rooms and a compact design.
The house is built of affordable materials including wood, corrugated metal and unfinished galvanized steel.

What will happen to the house after the Solar Decathlon?

FLeX House will become the Zero Energy House Learning Center on the USF Tampa campus. It will be a place for students and faculty to do research and for the general public to learn about energy efficiency.