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The Periscope

Curing Ignorance Through the Lens


Austrian Students Design High-Tech, Energy-Plus Home

Lisi House 

Net-positive energy designs provide affordable, energy-efficient housing. 

An innovative housing design has emerged from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013, a biennial program in which teams of college students compete to design, build, and demonstrate the most affordable, sustainable, and appealing solar-powered houses. Competing for the first time in the United States program, Vienna University of Technology’s Team Austria received first place against eighteen other designs with its “energy+ atrium” LISI (Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation) house.

The LISI house was designed to be adjustable for a variety of climate zones and users, employing eco-friendly construction materials, air-water heat pumps, automated mechanical systems, and a roof covered by photovoltaic modules to create a self-controlled inside environment that produces more energy than it consumes. The development of net-positive energy homes such as the LISI house in global Solar Decathlons offers hopeful news for the future of energy-efficient housing.

Photo by Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, licensed under Creative Commons.