Missouri University of Science and Technology
Team website: solarhouse.mst.edu
Missouri University of Science and Technology designed Chameleon House for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 to epitomize an adaptable living environment. With versatile features that form a chameleon skin—and spaces designed to maximize flexibility, comfort, and convenience—the Chameleon House flexes easily to meet as many market and regional needs as possible.
Chameleon House rejects a paradigm of technology for technology's sake. Instead, its creators were guided by the belief that technology is important only to the extent that it significantly enhances a user's experience. The design avoids unnecessary complexity in favor of a simple approach that uses seamless engineering of systems to prove that sustainable living can be easy and enjoyable. Chameleon House continuously adapts to its surrounding environment and integrates multiple technologies to maximize comfort and flexibility.
- Seasonally transitional exterior siding panels alternate between a light, reflective side and a dark, absorptive side.
- A south-facing solarium expands the floor plan to an outdoor living space.
- Folding glass doors separate the solarium from the kitchen and dining area—not only regulating the space but also serving as a passive solar feature and buffer to the outside environment.
- A partition wall separates the bedroom and main living area—or can be rolled into a closet to create additional space.
- The prominent photovoltaic system is optimized for flat roofs and uses reflectors between the rows of panels to increase total energy production.
- A mixed-mode residential HVAC system marries the automation system and the house HVAC system.
- A radiant heating system with tubes beneath the concrete floor circulates water to heat the interior space from the bottom up.
- A predictive-control home automation system uses weather data to predict hour-by-hour temperatures and adjust accordingly.
Marketed to tech-savvy and budget-conscious young professionals interested in reducing their carbon footprint, Chameleon House found its target market when its design team became excited by the idea of living in such a house. The house has a modern aesthetic to engage recent college graduates and supports activities ranging from quite working to gatherings for family, friends, and neighbors.
After the Solar Decathlon, Missouri University of Science and Technology will bring the Chameleon House back to campus to join the energy research and outreach facility E3 (Energy, Environment, Education) Commons. This will be the fifth Solar Decathlon house installed on the university campus since 2002 as part of a "solar village" where students can live and educate the local community about the benefits of sustainable living.