UrbanEden is a net-zero energy, solar-powered home designed for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. The house design was envisioned as an urban infill project for a couple. It is defined by a strong connection between indoor and outdoor living areas; even in an urban context, the outdoor living area allows inhabitants to privately enjoy the outdoors.
Our work began on the home design in October 2011. The UNC-Charlotte team began construction of a solar house in March 2013 and completed the house in September before transporting it to California for competition within the 2013 US Department of Solar Energy Decathalon that took place October 3-13, 2013. When working on this project, the house we created kept these questions in mind:
- How do we make a small house feel big?
- How does a smart house make for a smart homeowner?
- How can your house provide natural resources?
- How can we make concrete sustainable?
- How can we bring nature into the city?
- How can we harvest solar energy to power the home?
Our UNC-Charlotte team, Team North Carolina, brought home two awards. We tied for third place in the juried Engineering Contest and won the popular-vote People’s Choice Award. UNC-Charlotte/Team North Carolina tied with Team Austria and the University of Nevada Las Vegas for third place in Engineering.
The team’s house, “UrbanEden,” was recognized for the high thermal mass of its geopolymer concrete walls, the capillary tube cooling system, and the moveable racks of photovoltaic panels. For more about UrbanEden’s design and features, visit http://urbaneden.uncc.edu.
Joshua Cox worked as a Control Systems Engineer on UrbanEden.