U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun

Solar Decathlon 2013

Team Austria: Vienna University of Technology

Team Austria's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 entry is a simple, smart, and sustainable house. Powered by a rooftop solar photovoltaic system, Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation (LISI) generates more power than it uses over the course of a year. The house adapts to a range of climate zones and flexes to meet a variety of lifestyles.

Design Philosophy

In developing LISI, Team Austria was guided by a vision for a healthy, sustainable future and a concept that could adapt to many lifestyles and climates. Viewing the house as a "social creature" eager to find its place in a richly diverse community, Team Austria honors a sense of stewardship in the use of our planet's most precious resources.


  • Renewable and eco-friendly construction and insulation materials made of timber are easily transported and provide indoor climate comfort and carbon-neutrality.
  • Changeable architectural elements create a variety of sensory conditions—closing to form a protective cocoon for occupants and opening to allow them to expand their space.
  • Two patios create a balance between interior and exterior and public and semi-public spaces.
  • The passive solar design, combined with an automated screen and awning system, provides shade to keep the living spaces cool and comfortable.
  • A patio herb garden draws water from a rainwater reservoir.
  • Generous storage, completely integrated into the walls, frees the primary indoor space from clutter.


  • Photovoltaic modules provide an annual surplus, which can be used to power electric bikes or vehicles.
  • A centralized utility room contains all the automated mechanical systems the house needs, including a photovoltaics monitor, ventilation, plumbing, and hot water supply.
  • Two high-efficiency, air-water heat pumps supply cold and hot water for space heating and cooling as well as for domestic hot water.
  • An energy-recovery ventilation unit acts as a heat and humidity exchanger between exhaust air and fresh intake air to keep the living spaces comfortable and healthy.
  • A multifunctional subfloor system regulates the indoor climate using water, air, and active cubic capacity.
  • A heat-recovering shower tray reduces the energy demand for hot water by almost one-third.
  • Through a tablet application, the automated house control hub, energy performance history, and live data can be accessed in an intuitive way.

Market Strategy

LISI's residents are ecologically aware, intellectually agile, young at heart, and contemporary of mind. LISI was designed as a flexible house with potential for serial production. Two economically promising applications were initially identified:

  • A sustainable cottage for small lots in urban areas
  • A contemporary chalet for mountain and lake resort developments.

What's Next

After the Solar Decathlon, the team has been invited to present LISI at Austria's biggest model home exhibition site, where approximately 100 manufacturers present prefabricated house designs and, the team hopes, LISI will attract potential buyers. In addition, LISI will be available for further research and study for future generations of architecture and engineering students.


Karin Stieldorf
Phone: +0043 158801 27041

Photo collage of members of the Vienna University of  Technology Solar Decathlon 2013 team. The LISI logo is in the middle. Enlarge image

The Vienna University of Technology Solar Decathlon 2013 team (Courtesy of the Vienna University of Technology Solar Decathlon 2013 team)

The Vienna University of Technology audiovisual presentation

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