This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 13, 2011

Miami Students' U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Design Focused on Sustainability

When settling on a design concept for their U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry, Florida International University (FIU) students knew they had to come up with something that would effectively function in the tropical, variable climate of Miami. For FIU students that means adopting an open pavilion, porch-like design modeled after structures commonly found in Central and South America.

"Producing energy is great but you need to start with a space that's designed as sustainably and efficiently as possible," says the FIU team Project Engineer, Michelle Marcovits.

A signature feature of the design is the adjustable panels along the perimeter of the home. On sunny days, the panels can be lifted to act as a canopy, shading the interior and outside bamboo deck. During inclement weather, the panels act as shutters, closing tightly around the home to add an extra layer of stability. See the Energy Blog post and the website for FIU's entry, the perform[D]ance House.