CHIP Solar Home On Display In Los Angeles

Well, it looks like the creators of the CHIP Solar Home got their wish. After entering their zero net energy home in the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., last fall, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) team said on their blog that they hoped the solar home would be able to “show another group of kids what tomorrow looks like.”

It will indeed. The CHIP Solar House has caught the eye of the the folks at the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles, and for the next five months, will be one of the center’s main exhibits. A ribbon-cutting celebration, welcoming the home, was held at the California Science Center at Exposition Park with Los Angeles city council members, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and officials from Hanwha Solar in attendance.

chip solar house

image via SCI-arch Caltech

“SCI-Arc is an education and innovation anchor of the CleanTech Corridor, helping LA lead in sustainable design and architecture,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said during the ribbon cutting for the building. “I commend SCI-Arc and Caltech’s innovative use of solar power for the next generation of clean energy residential properties.”

CHIP stands for Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype Solar House. The 750-square-foot structure wears its insulation on the outside, rather than stuffed in between the home’s frame, giving it a quilt-like appearance. The home is powered by 45 solar panels, enough to generate three times more electricity than the home uses. Those solar panels also provide juice to the Xbox Kinect that serves as the master command center for the home. Residents can turn lights and appliances on and off just by pointing at them. A 3-D camera also sees occupants of the house and can automatically turn lights on and off as they move from space to space.

chip solar house

image via SCI-arch Caltech

The CHIP Solar House house will be open to the public for free tours through May 31. Tours are available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information is available here.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.