The future of sustainable housing is under construction at FIU

Construction on FIU’s house entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is officially underway. The Solar Decathlon is an international competition that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

A team of FIU students and faculty from the College of Architecture + The Arts and the College of Engineering have designed and engineered the Performdance House, which will be constructed on the northeast corner of Modesto A. Maidique Campus, and then moved to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the competition which takes place from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2. More than 80 schools participated in the pre-selection process, with only 20 finalists actually making it to the competition in Washington D.C.

“The beginning of construction on this house celebrates a significant milestone in the development of a project with many authors and a broad, truly heartwarming contingent of community of support,” said architecture professor Marilys Nepomechie. “It marks over a year of significant learning for our students, and celebrates the extraordinary generosity and commitment of our university and our community partners in realizing a significant sustainability initiative.”

When the house returns to FIU, it will become the new home of the FIU Office of University Sustainability. The new building will be the only known university office of sustainability actually housed in a 100 percent solar powered, sustainable building.

“I’ve had the privilege of  watching this project develop over the past year,” said College of Architecture + the Arts Dean Brian Schriner. “The level of dedication I have seen from our students and faculty on this Solar Decathlon house has been truly exciting.”

The Performdance house emphasizes adaptability and customization as key components of its energy performance. Designed for South Florida’s potentially harsh hurricane seasons, the Performdance House features floor-to-ceiling windows protected by an advanced louver system designed to both provide shade when opened and protection from high winds when closed.  When the house is transforming between its open and protected configurations, it actually appears to be dancing.