Solar Decathlon 2011: Creating Sustainable and Affordable Housing Solutions for Hawaii
Applied Materials has been a proud sponosr of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, as well as a sponosr of individual teams. What always impresses me about this competition is the dedication of these extremely talented teams. One team caught my eye due to its use of Twitter and webcasts and I asked them to describe who they are and what they are about. Team Hawaii has several touchpoints to learn more about the team and their building. If you're a solar decathlon and would like to share your story with us, please feel free to reach out. We'd be honored to share your story and in the excitement of Solar Decthalon 2011.
The University of Hawaii’s Team Hawaii has been selected among teams from around the world as one of 20 that will compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, an initiative to design, construct, and operate a solar house that will be judged in ten various contests in Washington D.C. in September 2011.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture, College of Engineering, Shidler College of Business, Aquaculture Program, Honolulu Community College, Kapiolani Community College are collaborating within various disciplines to present Hawaii as an incubator of research and development in green technologies.
The motivation behind the design of Hale Pilihonua, Team Hawaii’s house, was to provide natural ventilation, provide a well-insulated and shaded building envelope, use minimum materials, and maximize space utilization.
Collaboration on the design has included students of all disciplines, including Culinary students, responsible for displaying the functionality of Hale Pilihonua. In addition, the team wished to utilized cutting-edge “green” materials, such as a bio-based fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). To maximize the inherent FRP material properties, and simultaneously to minimize the use of material, it was decided that a semi-monocoque structure would be used. The Hale is also designed to withstand common conditions of the Tropics including hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, flooding, intense solar radiation, high humidity, termite infestation, rot, and corrosion. Design properties will provide human comfort by maintaining relative humidity below 55% and temperatures below 76°F. An unusual spatial form enhances aesthetics by visually connecting interior to exterior and offering a spacious interior feeling. Innovative building techniques such as computer numerical control (CNC) and FRP fabrication will be utilized by trade school students to build Hale Pilihonua. These skills will then be applied once the students enter the local workforce.
Team Hawaii has integrated a series of impressive elements to the innovation of Hale Pilihonua which will increase the impact the house will have on the public. A novel solar and environmental thermal energy utilization system will be developed for temperature control, which incorporates phase change materials (PCM) for thermal energy storage.
Due to the tight building envelope, Team Hawaii is studying the possible application of aquaponically cultivating three types of plants inside Hale Pilihonua to reduce allergens, increase oxygen levels, and remove carcinogens from the indoor environment. An automated interface will be designed to care for the plants as a preventative measure to reduce likelihood of accidental plant death. This automated system will be controlled from various building systems including smart phones which will also have the capacity to control other systems in Hale Pilihonua such as lighting and HVAC. In harmony with the Solar Decathlon Hale Pilihonua will possess an array of state-of-the art photovoltaic panels that will provide more than the estimated energy requirements of the house.
Team Hawaii will be constructing, shipping, and reconstructing Hale Pilihonua in Washington, D.C. Bringing together the minds and passions of many this project will promote research, interdisciplinary education, hands-on application, private-public-government sector collaboration, the University of Hawaii system, and Hawaii.
Team Hawaii’s innovative house can be seen in more detail on their website www.solar.hawaii.edu and can be followed at www.twitter.com/teamhawaii2011 and www.facebook.com/teamhawaii2011. Through design, innovation, and marketing Team Hawaii is paving a path for a sustainable workforce for the state, nation, and world.