Team Austria's home ready to compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon

As you stroll through the verdant green foothills of the Austrian Alps, you'll be inspired by not only the quaint farm houses and pastures, but also number of solar panels on the south facing barn roofs. Austria has a long tradition of sustainability and is well known in Europe as a dynamic leader in renewable energy and sustainability. It's therefore no surprise that we jumped at the chance to enter the 2013 Solar Decathlon in California!

Our entry is named LISI - Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation. In addition to the competition categories ranging from architecture to energy, LISI is designed to meet the principles of the USGBC LEED for Homes program. We believe that the 10 Solar Decathlon categories are enhanced by LEED point categories. For example, the Solar Decathlon has no explicit category for sustainable materials, while LEED for Homes credits LISI's timber construction harvested from the local Austrian forests.

"We found that the LEED for Homes certification provided more sustainable context for LISI, and in the Solar Decathlon competition, telling the story of sustainability is essential."- Sabrina Novalin, Team Austria Engineering Team Manager

LISI is designed to be open and inviting with large sliding doors to north and south terraces, or in case you are feeling cozy, a sliding outdoor curtain can provide a more intimate environment. LISI provides an annual surplus of energy through a solar photovoltaic array, and heating and cooling is delivered by an innovative underfloor air / water combination system. Solar energy is converted to thermal using an efficient variable speed air source heat pump. Tight integration of the technical with the architectural is one of the most striking features of LISI.

Aiming for a level of Platinum, the certification process was managed by Davis Energy Group, who also has a proud tradition of supporting the Solar Decathlon competition. An integral part of the LEED team is the Green Rater, who provides the close support required to succeed in designing and building a LEED certified home. Our Green Rater, Shellie Collier, has experience with 16 LEED Platinum homes and has been a big help for us as a local expert on the ground, with practical experience. Shellie is the founder of Homage Design, and is partnered with Davis Energy.

“Davis Energy Group is delighted that the Solar Decathlon team LISI chose us to be the LEED for Homes Provider for this project. The Solar Decathlon represents innovative and cutting-edge technology in solar and home design.”- Davis Energy Group

Sustainability is about integrating our design decisions today with how we want to live in the future. The combination of the Solar Decathlon competition and the LEED for Homes program is training a generation of students in holistic sustainable home construction. We are proud to represent Austria and our home LISI, see you in Irvine California this October!

The U.S. Department of Energy will hold this year’s Solar Decathlon in the Orange Country Great Park in Irvine, California, from October 3–13. The Solar Decathlon is a biennial international competition that challenges twenty collegiate and university student-led teams to design and build solar-powered net-zero homes that are affordable, energy-efficient, and aesthetically appealing. Each team’s project will be judged in ten categories: Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Communications, Affordability, Comfort Zone, Hot Water, Appliances, Home Entertainment, and Energy Balance.