RACE to Give Solar Decathlon a Run for Its Money
By Erin Weaver The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) are planning a new student design competition focused on energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and health measures, and emphasizing local, contextual design. Tentatively named the Residential Affordable Competition for Efficiency (RACE-Home), the new project was inspired by the U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial—in which collegiate teams compete in designing solar-powered homes—but is also a response to the Solar Decathlon’s high costs. (In 2011, the contest added an “Affordability” segment to encourage designs with construction costs under $250,000). In addition, while most Solar Decathlon homes remain on display at their home campuses, RACE-Homes would become affordable housing after the exhibition, potentially at Denver urban infill sites. According to RMI’s James Brew, AIA, students will focus on “efficient, local, contextual design, and partner with professional builders to begin to bridge the design-build gap, as well as ensure the houses [meet] code and local design requirements.” RMI is currently gauging schools’ interest in the project, which would provide each team with a general contractor and $50,000 in seed funding. RMI intends to launch the competition in September 2012.
May 1, 2012
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