Solar Decathlon 2013
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology
DALE, the Dynamic Augmented Living Environment, was the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 entry for the SCI-Arc/Caltech team. Made of two movable, prefabricated modules that open to allow the outdoors in, DALE celebrates the active California lifestyle and fosters thrivability through its dynamic architecture.
DALE is a small house that enables its occupants to live large. It is designed to embrace California's climate and inspire a spirit of extreme living in the context of today's sustainable movement. The team presents DALE as an answer to the recent trend of supersized, suburban mansions that elevate cost and material while focusing on largeness. By contrast, DALE reflects an appreciation of and delight in a sustainable living space and aims to reclaim the spirit of Southern California.
- Two prefabricated modules move across a rail system and open easily to create an outdoor living space that triples the inhabitable square footage.
- A vinyl exterior skin provides a tight, waterproof body glove and replaces traditional sheathing and finish.
- Two partitions suspended from ceiling tracks in the living module divide the house into a bedroom, living room, and home office—or vanish to create one large living area.
- A core module houses the mechanical room, bathroom, and commercial-sized kitchen.
- Sliding solar canopies offset from each module have vertical louver panels for shade, ventilation, and privacy.
- Interchangeable platforms can vary from a solar thermal collector to a sports rack to an integrated hammock.
- A steel superstructure with a pair of motorized bridge crane end trucks moves the modules.
- Spring-loaded cable and hose reel assemblies with a fixed connection to a municipal water and power source hold all the hoses and cables as they travel with the movable modules.
- A 28-panel photovoltaic array produces all of the house's electricity.
- The HVAC system uses state-of-the-art solar water heating technology with solar thermal evacuated tube collectors to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
- A house monitoring system collects solar energy production data, monitors energy and water consumption, and controls indoor temperatures.
- A unique safety system monitors the movement of the house.
DALE is designed to accommodate the active lifestyle and forward-thinking mindset of Southern California. Targeted to active couples who enjoy sports, surfing, biking, and entertaining outdoors, the house resonates with dynamic and environmentally conscious homeowners.
After the Solar Decathlon, DALE was reassembled at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. There, the team plans to host an open house for prospective buyers. If the house is not sold, it will be used as a classroom for special program courses and to house visitors to the school.