Any Californians out there looking to fork over a quarter of a million dollars for a high-performance home that’s been assembled and disassembled multiple times, hosted several thousand visitors, and been poked, prodded, partied in, and otherwise put through the ringer?

Well, it’s your lucky day as not one but two competing homes in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, fluxHome from the University of Southern California and Santa Clara University’s Radiant House, have entered the market for private buyers as there’s simply no room for them to remain on each university’s respective campus. Radiant House's sale starts at a minimum bid of $250,000 while fluxHome appears to have a set price of $250,000. The cost of transporting and assembling the modular dwellings in their new homes is not included in the price.

Radiant House and fluxHome were among four homegrown Californian contenders in the 2013 U.S. Solar Decathlon, which, for the first time, was held in Irvine, Calif., instead of its longtime home of Washington, D.C. this past October. Out of the 19 competing colleges and universities, Santa Clara scored 11th place overall (first place in the Comfort Zone and Entertainment contests) while USC scored 10th place (first place in the Appliances contest and third place in the Architecture contest).

If you followed the last year's U.S. Solar Decathlon — a heated biennial student competition in which student teams are challenged to “design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive” — you may recall that European teams ultimately dominated the final scoreboard with the Vienna Institute of Technology taking top prize and Czech Technical University coming in third.

In their post-competition afterlives, Solar Decathlon homes go on to serve a wide variety of functions. And although some do indeed become private homes, this was not the original destiny for either Radiant House or fluxHome.Radiant HouseRadiant HouseRadiant House

The 1,050-square-foot Radiant House — I called the net-zero energy, bamboo-heavy home a “a fresh take on senior living that emphasizes efficiency, economics and elegance” — was originally going to be installed on Santa Clara’s campus as a research lab alongside the school’s two previous SD entrants, 2009’s Ripple House and 2007’s Refract House (both scored third place). However, a “suitable location” was not secured. The Santa Clara team would ideally like to pass the home on to a new owner who will use it for a “nonprofit or charity cause” and also allow the team to continue to make visits. The team hopes to recoup construction costs through the sale.

Included with the ADA-compatible home is a massive bamboo deck that adds a whopping 1,200 square feet of living space, appliances and electronics, and, of course, solar PV and thermal systems. Furnishings are extra. "Radiant House meets all building codes and has been through the permit process in Santa Clara and Irvine, California. Sale is ‘as is,’ just bid, buy, and take it away!" reads an announcement published by the Santa Clara University School of Engineering.

It’s a similar story for fluxHome, an innovative, highly customizable abode that I referred to as a “clever and dynamic reimagining of the suburban tract home geared toward the perpetually changing nuclear family.” The two-bedroom home with its distinctive metallic rain screen façade was originally going to be donated to a local low-income family but, in the end, the USC team found “the donation not to be feasible.” And given that there’s no room for the 960-square-foot structure at the proverbial inn, it has to be moved by a new owner from the USC's Los Angeles campus by March 15.


Aside from the sale of these two striking, student-designed solar show homes, there’s some other big SD news to report: the location and the finalized line-up of the 2015 U.S. Solar Decathlon. Once again, the event will take place at Orange County Great Park in Irvine with a line-up featuring eight returning teams including Stevens Institute of Technology, Crowder College, Stanford, and Cal Poly. Joining these repeat contenders will be 12 completely new schools.

And for the first time since the inaugural Solar Decathlon in 2002, there will be no standalone international teams (and no Canadians!) partaking in 2015's competition. However, there will be four domestic-foreign mash-up teams: The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchenl; University of Florida, National University of Singapore, and Santa Fe College; West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata; and Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana.

You can view the complete line-up here.

Via [Curbed LA]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Two retired Solar Decathlon homes seek deep-pocketed buyers
Two student teams from the 2013 Solar Decathlon, USC and Santa Clara University, need to sell their innovative, solar-powered homes to private buyers.