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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for November 04, 2013

ENERGY NEWSBRIEFS is a weekly current awareness service provided by the WSU Extension Energy Program Library and written by Angela Santamaria, WSU Energy Library Manager, to assist users in tracking developments in the energy field. To view past issues or to subscribe to receive an email notification of the publication of a new issue, go to the Energy Newsbriefs home.

Please be aware that although every URL is checked for accuracy prior to the publication of Energy Newsbriefs, URLs are, for various reasons, subject to change. Further, servers sometimes fail to connect to working URLs.


The following illustrated articles were written by Sandra Slavin, who holds various certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council, American Institute, of Certified Planners, and Build It Green. They appeared in the September 2013 issue of GreenBuilder. The first introduces the biannual event, which was developed and is run by the U.S. Department of Energy, the 10 others feature solar-powered residences which were on display in Irvine, California, in early October. They were all designed and built by student teams. They are listed here in the order they appear in the journal, that is, each one is on the page following the article before it:

  1. Solar Sunrise(scroll to pages 10-11) describes the event.
  2. Borealis House(scroll to pages 12-13) is a net-zero energy structure from a team consisting of students from the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University in Alberta, Canada. It was designed with frigid weather in remote areas in mind. One of its unusual features is an interior vegetated wall that ensures indoor air quality and provides a lovely aesthetic.
  3. Desert Sol House(on pages 14-17), from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, was built for the Mojave Desert environment where high temperatures and minimal water were addressed in the design. Water and moisture are conserved and reused, and the HVAC system is both effective and extremely efficient.
  4. Radiant House(on pages 18-21), from a Santa Clara University (California) team, uses an energy-storing wax that releases solar-sourced energy at night and on sunless days, incorporates bamboo as a structural element, and includes passive cooling under the roof PV panels to prevent their overheating.
  5. LISI House(on pages 22-23), from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, is a pre-fab whose flexible design enables its inhabitants to adjust the building for changing weather conditions. At the same time, a control system “harmonizes” those adjustments to meet energy efficiencies. The LISI house, also, generates all the energy its residents need.
  6. Delta T-90 House(on pages 24-27), from Norwich University, maintains an indoor temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit while Vermont’s outside temperatures have a range of 90 degrees in the course of any year. It accomplishes this with several features and, at the same time, offers higher ceilings but a cost low-enough for those who earn only 80% of the state’s median income.
  7. Canopy House(on pages 28-29) was designed by a team comprised of students from Hampton University and Old Dominion University. The design of the home educates its residents on how to save more energy and enables them to age in place.
  8. Chameleon House(on pages 30-33), from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, has an open-floor plan and convertible furnishings and cabinets all of which allow for reconfiguration by its residents according to their needs.
  9. Peak House(on pages 34-35), from West Virginia University, has its high-tech systems in the background. Its residents would find them very user friendly; the home, itself, is designed to look rustic to fit in with its Appalachian setting.
  10. UrbanEden House(on pages 36-39), from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is comprised of modules – separate rooms or areas – which are designed to accept additional modules if residents need to expand the home.
  11. InSite House(on pages 40-41), from Middlebury College, has its solar panels on a structure exterior to the building allowing a fully vegetated roof to help regulate the interior temperature.


Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips" is a Web page from the U.S. Department of Energy. The site is now offering many tips for energy savings for the cooler months.

Past issues of Energy Newsbriefs are available here. Generally, subscription information for the journals cited above can be found at the home page of their web sites. © 2013 Washington State University Extension Energy Program. This publication contains material written and produced for public distribution.