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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 9, 2011, 7:07 a.m.
Florida International University, perFORM[D]ance House

Photo: DOE

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Florida International University, perFORM[D]ance House

Despite the tricky name, the perFORM[D]ance House from second-time contender Florida International is conceptually straightforward but is influenced by the vernacular architecture of Central and South America where things can get hot, hot, hot ... and humid. Designed as an open pavilion, this sustainable home's energy-saving, subtropical-friendly design elements are numerous: operable louvers, daylighting, cross-ventilation, a continuous flat white roof and ample outdoor space complete with a biofiltration pond and lush vegetation. So where does the dancing come in, you ask? The team explains: "Powered entirely by the sun, the house performs in real time by sensing and responding to the external conditions of its environment and the internal conditions of its use." And since such a lively, sure-footed abode needs an adequate partner (or two), perFORM[D]ance House was designed specifically for a retired Hispanic-American couple who, with the kids grown and out of the house, have a bit more time to tango.