Indigo Pine Solar House: Clemson Team’s Solar Decathlon 2015 EntryOct 01 2015 · 0 comments · NISHKIAN MONKS, Residential ·0
The Solar Decathlon 2015 will take place at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California from October 8-18, 2015, and a total of 16 teams from 30 different colleges around the world nearly 800 students studying architecture, engineering, city planning and other subjects have arrived at the build site on September 28 to construct and assemble their respective solar houses. South Carolina’s Clemson University is one of the participants in this extremely competitive design contest. The Clemson team includes more than 100 students, faculty and professional consultants collaborating on the design, construction and promotion of a prototypical, three-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot, low environmental-impact solar house that is cost-effective in today’s market and comfortable in South Carolina’s climate. Corporate and business partnerships have helped in the team’s preparations for this design competition. Along with South Carolina Electric & Gas, North Carolina’s UFP, and Georgia Pacific, Montana’s Nishkian Monks engineers joined as project partners providing structural engineering consultation for Clemson’s entry—a solar-powered and carbon neutral home, called “Indigo Pine.”
“Indigo Pine” derives its name from two crops important to South Carolina. Indigo’s rich blue dye symbolizes the state’s tradition and culture. Pine’s sturdy versatility represents the team’s construction approach. Designed for a family of four, Indigo Pine was envisioned as a family home from the start and, building on this foundation, the team took the traditional concept of a Southern home and began redefining it in contemporary ways. The team focused on stitching together innovative building methods, Southern personality and local products. The primary material is wood as it is a renewable, natural resource that is indigenous to the state and has the lowest embedded energy of any structural material. Like a traditional Southern house, Indigo Pine has a porch, but it is an integrated part of the whole. This solar house is equipped with a smart energy-monitoring system that can be operated simply by all family members.
Indigo Pine not only considers operational energy costs, but also the energy cost of the construction process. After completing Indigo Pine on the Clemson campus, the team “transported” Indigo Pine to the build site via email, a completely carbon-neutral solution. “The design files were emailed to a plywood manufacturer in California. That manufacturer then used a computer navigated cutting (CNC) machine to transform more than 500 standard-sized sheets of plywood into the specified pieces needed to assemble the walls, rafters, joists and more,” said Ty Monks, structural engineering consultant to the team. “Not building the house in Clemson and shipping it via rail or highway keeps the project’s carbon footprint at zero. The Clemson team took a train to California, picked up the material from the manufacturer, and is assembling the Indigo Pine solar home in the build site right now.” The team’s innovative plywood structural system is assembled and fortified through locking joints, wedges and stainless steel zip ties to create a structurally coherent and resilient form that can be expanded, adapted and utilized as a construction method for any home. Additionally, the team is only using man-powered tools on site to further reduce construction energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is one of the largest global college competition focused on energy management in homes. It takes place biennially and challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective and energy-efficient. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with maximum efficiency.
The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily on the eight days over two weekends:
• Thursday, Oct. 8–Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015
• Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015
On the remaining dates, the Solar Decathlon village will be closed for competition activities.
Open to the public free of charge, the Solar Decathlon gives visitors the opportunity to tour solar-powered houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today. We wish all of the Solar Decathlon 2015 teams the best of luck as we all look forward to another incredible competition!
To learn more about Solar Decathlon 2015, click here.