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Photo of a woman sitting in a chair and reading.

A student from the University of Puerto Rico demonstrates the "livability" of her team's house.

Solar Decathlon 2005


(100 Points)

What makes a home comfortable? What makes it a nice place to have a morning coffee? Or to do homework? Or host a holiday gathering? To create a good home, builders and designers have to imagine all of the events and activities that might go on there. Today's homes must work with today's lifestyles, but also anticipate tomorrow's. Great rooms that welcome many different uses increase family togetherness. Home offices help with juggling work and home. Main floor master suites ensure that houses remain livable as homeowners age.

The building industry constantly adapts to lifestyle changes with new floor plans and new features. The Solar Decathlon homes are only about 750 square-feet — that's about one-third the size of a typical new single family home — but they must still be livable and meet the needs of today's families.

Experts from the residential buildings industry will award points based on their evaluations of the "livability" and "buildability" of the homes. Are the spaces designed well for everyday living — doing laundry and getting work done? Are the houses comfortable to live in and simple to care for? Are the houses' features easily reproducible? And would the houses attract buyers?