First Yale Team Ever Provides Efficient Design for Solar Decathlon 2015

September 8, 2015

Yale Team's entry into this year's Solar Decathlon - Y House

Yale Team’s entry into this year’s Solar Decathlon – Y House

For the first time, Yale is participating in this year’s Solar Decathlon.  The design focuses on the use of modules, with all of the unit’s plumbing, ventilation, and electrical components being housed in just one section of the house.

“Our team has been really looking at how we can embed sustainability into the house itself,” said Kate McMillan, a senior architecture student from Houston.  The team, composed entirely of students, has been working on the project for two years.

“We’ve built the house so it’s oriented toward natural ventilation.  It’s a linear configuration so we’re able to maximize air flow.” McMillan added, “We’re really focusing on the idea of using modular construction (which) really enables us to bring the price of the house down.”

The main structure will come from Portland, Oregon, in two halves that will be assembled with the other houses in Irvine, California.  The third module, containing the hot-water tank and a ventilator that knows when a window is opened, plugs into the back and is being assembled at the Yale campus.

Some of the wooden features, such as the exterior lattice work, will be locally sourced.  “Parts of it are coming from the Yale forest,” McMillan said, so it will have a connection to the university.  Yale’s Myers Forest, one of five forests Yale owns, is located in several towns in northeastern Connecticut.

In this house, indoors and outdoors are fluid concepts; both form part of the living space.  A key feature of the design is that “the living room of the house will have a large folding door,” said Thaddeus Lee, a junior architecture major from Singapore.  “You are able to open all the doors and it will effectively let you double the size of your living room” by using the large deck in front.

“We wanted to almost feel like that’s an extension of the house,” McMillan said of the deck.  The extended lattice brings the two together visually.

Source: New Haven Register News



Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.