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Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California
October 8-18, 2015

Team Tennessee: Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University

In February 2015, Team Tennessee, made up of first-time U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon participants Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University, withdrew from Solar Decathlon 2015.

According to Vanderbilt University engineering professor and team lead Ralph Bruce, the team will continue working with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville and will finish building the house.

“This has been an invaluable experience for the students so far and will continue to be. Solar Decathlon and Habitat for Humanity are providing students an opportunity to learn design, engineering, and construction skills that incorporate sustainability at every turn," Bruce said. "We are grateful for the opportunity to get this far in Solar Decathlon and look forward to finishing the project independently.”

The team is creating Harmony House—a sustainable and efficient home for a lower-income family. With a traditional façade, wide front porch, open living space conducive to entertaining, and plentiful outdoor space, Harmony House is a modern interpretation of one of Tennessee's oldest architectural styles—the dogtrot house. The dogtrot house traditionally comprised two side-by-side log cabins connected by a center breezeway and covered by a shared roof. This breezeway, or "dogtrot," allowed breezes to flow through the home during hot summer months. Team Tennessee designed a modern version of the dogtrot using wide French doors in the center of the east and west walls that open onto porches to create a breezeway through the middle of the house.

Team Tennessee's goal is to make sustainability, affordability, and energy efficiency available to low-income families in high-population areas. By designing Harmony House in three distinct modules, the house will be lower-cost, adaptable, and easily transportable. Harmony House's built-in garden will encourage residents to grow fresh fruits and vegetables during Tennessee's 225-day growing season—one of the longest in the nation.


Ralph Bruce