These Solar Homes All Look To Be Winners

Dow Chemical has announced the winners of its International Dow Solar Design to Zero Competition. The competition invited  design, architecture and engineering students to come up with near-zero energy homes that use both active and passive solar energy. After launching the competition in August 2011, Dow received a total of 131 entries from 19 different countries.

From the pool of entries, 32 teams were chosen in December 2011, and from those, the three winners were announced during the 2012 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show  in Orlando, Fla. Winners reigned from both the United States and Canada.

image via Ericmlaine.com

The first place prize of $20,000 went to the Live/Work team from South Carolina. Designers Eric Laine and Suzanne Steelman are graduate students from Clemson University School of Architecture. They designed a home that incorporates both commercial and residential functionalities. The structure embraces its urban setting both architecturally and economically, adapting its energy systems to the regional environment and integrating those systems seamlessly into the aesthetic design of the building.

Daniel Kim and Caitlin Ranson, also from Clemson University School of Architecture, took home the second place prize along with a $10,000 for their Project Zero design. The structure is comprised of concrete masonry units that make for an energy efficient modern house. The home also incorporates multiple zones that decrease the cost and the energy footprint.

Image via Dow

Third place and a $5,000 prize went to The Silo House design from Canada. Team members Leon Lai and Eric Tan created a dwelling that transformed an abandoned oil silo into a residential house. The team used the spherical shape of the oil silo to allow for the optimal collection of solar energy year round.

Along with the competition’s overall winners, Dow Solar announced four honorable mention teams. Tongji Team 2 from China created an energy efficient dwelling designed with the Chinese farmer in mind. Team Partial Submersion from the U.S. sunk the building in order to protect it from the heat and cold of the climate.

The third honorable mention team, VegaSol, used passive and active solar systems to respond to the Las Vegas environment. Liquid Arquitectura Team from Spain created an urban architectural example that garnered them an honorable mention.

“Working with all the enthusiastic and extremely talented international students throughout this competition has not only been incredibly rewarding but has been an amazing learning experience for me,” Peter Anders of Kayvala Consulting and Dow Solar Design to Zero student advisor said in a statement. “Each submission provided innovative and revolutionary designs that will help transform the future of sustainable building; these are the architects and engineers of tomorrow and it has been a great experience working with Dow to see these ideas for our future unfold.”

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.