Innovation and Design

BeauSoleil Solar Decathalon

Client:

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Location:

Lafayette, LA

Project Type:

Residential

Builder:

Green Rater:


Project Goal:

First, to design and build a Louisiana home that is: environmentally sustainable; a balanced technological hybrid of passive and active systems; a uniquely regional work of architecture; responsive to our culture and climate; a marketable prototype for housing; and readily reproducible for the median-income household. Second, to educate team members about sustainable design, construction methods, and professional practice. Finally, to increase awareness worldwide about: our Louisiana culture; the need for effective emergency housing that is readily available; long-term housing options that are sustainable and affordable; and environmental responsibility.

Solution:

Believe in tomorrow, Beginning today.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they choose to believe. They dare to imagine the impossible – challenging the expected while turning dreams into reality. For a select group of students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, believing has not only changed the way they see the world, but quite possibly, the world we live in as well.

Beginning in the fall of 2007, students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette began working on conceptual designs and applications for the BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home. BeauSoleil, which means “Beautiful Sun” in French, or "Sunshine" in Cajun French, proved to be an ideal choice for their team and project as they worked to design a culturally relevant, technological hybrid – that advances the traditional homebuilding in the region.

Their journey culminated last October, when the team traveled to Washington D.C. for the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition. The Solar Decathlon is a worldwide competition in which 20 colleges and universities are chosen to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home. When the project was completed in Lafayette, the home was partially disassembled and transported to D.C., where it was re-built on the Washington Mall along with the other competitor’s projects. The team then operated the home for the duration of the judging between October 7 and 18. The ten competitions of the Solar Decathlon tested day to day life in the home.

Designed to be completely self-sufficient, the BeauSoleil Home will generates more energy than it consumes, collect its own water using a cistern, and captures natural breezes and sunshine to reduce the amount of energy it consumes. Operable shutters serve dual functions by providing shade and hurricane protection for windows. In addition to sustainability, the project also included reflections of the schools’ native culture - a rich heritage that TEAM BeauSoleil is proud to share with the world.
With this mission in mind, the UL Lafayette design team worked to capture the essence of Louisiana’s heritage in their design. The transitional porch and kitchen respond to the region's love of entertaining and cooking. Native plants and local materials, such as cypress, were incorporated throughout the home and landscaping. For the competition, the home was completed with Louisiana artwork and performances by the band BeauSoleil.

The students and professors who make up TEAM BeauSoleil are dedicated to turning this real-world, sustainable living solution into an eventual working model that can be sold to the public. Once the home is introduced to the marketplace, it will meet the urgent need for self-sufficient residential homes that was heightened after the hurricanes of 2005. The BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home brings a tangible opportunity for homeowners in the Gulf Coast region to cut their energy costs, while providing a viable environmental alternative to traditional homes. As a self-sufficient home, it will actually put energy back into the grid. As the BeauSoleil Home takes its place on the global stage, it will bring with it the history and tradition of an entire culture. TEAM BeauSoleil believes in our university, our culture, our state, and our future. The world will believe too, when they experience Louisiana in a whole new light.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they choose to believe. Today we invite you to join us on this journey – today we invite you to believe.
BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home – Believe in tomorrow, Beginning today.

(http://www.beausoleilhome.org/content/home/index_2.html)

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