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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 9, 2011, 7:07 a.m.
University of South Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, and University of Florida, FleX House

Photo: DOE

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Team Florida, FleX House

As you can probably surmise from the name of Team Florida's entry into the 2011 Solar Decathlon, FleX House is all about adaptability. (Team Florida includes University of South Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida and University of Florida.) Designed specifically for the Sunshine State's balmy climes with a young, moderate-income couple in mind, the team's ultimate goal "is to build a Florida home prototype that showcases the best possible balances of efficiency, sustainability and economics." And showcase FleX House does with eco-features including natural ventilation, a 22-panel solar array, a liquid desiccant duct system, an energy monitoring system and, most notably, an umbrella-like shading structure composed of cypress wood louvers that minimizes heat gain by protecting the home's roof and walls from the often unforgiving Florida sun. Post-competition, the home, which can be expanded with additional modules, will live on as a solar energy center on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus.