A peek inside one competitor in the Solar Decathlon, the CHIP House, designed by the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the California Institute of Technology.
The CHIP team placed a window toward the top of the house to allow extra heat to escape to the north. Credit: By As part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and California Institute of Technology joined to build the compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype. CHIP is meant to be energy, cost, and space efficient. Credit: By CHIP was built to have multiple levels, which separates different functions of the house. The bottom floor has the living area, the second floor has the bathroom and storage, the third floor has closet space and laundry facilities, and the top floor contains the bedroom. Credit: By Unlike the average home, CHIP is insulated on the outside, which construction manager Brian Zentmyer called ?out-sulation.? Behind the layer of white vinyl, the team used denim batt, which prevents thermal bridging, unlike two-by-fours, which transfer heat and cold. Credit: By CHIP is complete with a kitchen, which is equipped with energy-efficient products ? the entire house is powered by solar panels on the roof. Notice the iPad: the team created an app that helps the house owner to power appliances on and off, as well as to monitor energy use. Credit: By Zeke Millikan, a member of the mechanical team, described the house as ?modular,? as it neatly stores away household items. Chairs and footstools can be stored against the wall in the living area. Credit: By The house furniture can be moved around easily from its storage space in the living area to other parts of CHIP. Credit: By The bathroom, along with other parts of the house that use water, are supplied by rain water collected in a tank beneath the front deck of CHIP. The house?s technology is connected to Internet weather prediction services so that one knows when to use the stored water. Credit: By Wastewater from the laundry unit is sent to the planters outside. These boxes store water and slowly irrigate the plants. Credit: By