An energy-efficient family home designed and built by students from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP) has been honored with ten awards at the inaugural Orange County Sustainability Decathlon (OCSD) in California.
Named Roots House, the recently sold market-ready home is the culmination of three semesters of work by more than 100 students along with faculty advisors CPP Civil Engineering Professor Sunai Kim and Architecture Professor Juintow Lin. According to the school, students involved in the project spanned across nine majors — architecture; civil, chemical, environmental, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering; regenerative studies; and business administration.
The OCSD is a state-funded juried competition modeled after the U.S. Department of Solar Energy’s Solar Decathlon and challenged 14 international collegiate teams to design and build solar-powered homes. The 1,008-square-foot home’s first assembly and completion took place in the days leading up to the competition.
Roots House was placed No. 3 in the overall competition and won first, second, and third prizes in ten categories: Communications and Marketing (first prize), Health and Comfort (first prize), Energy Efficiency (first prize), Architecture and Interior Design (second prize), Lighting and Applicances (second prize) Market Potential (third prize), Water Use and Conservation (third prize), Sustainability and Resilience (third prize), and Engineering and Construction (third prize).
The design of Roots House revolved around efficiency in energy, water, and materials. Passive cooling, natural ventilation, natural lighting, and a while cool roof are incorporated into the scheme, as is a greywater system that recycles water from the shower, bath sink, and clothes washer. Materials were chosen for their low embodied energy, while chemical-free materials were selected for flooring and countertops.
With a buyer for the home now found, the team envisions two options for the future of the house. The plans could be brought to market in five to ten years for use as an ADU, or alternatively, could be developed into a Roots Community to foster climate-resilient multigenerational neighborhoods.
The home is one of several student-led live projects recently featured in our editorial. Last month, we covered a project from the Kharkiv School of Architecture which is delivering design solutions for rebuilding schools in Ukraine, while in May, students from IAAC collaborated on a mass timber nature observatory floating above a Barcelona forest.
In April, a team of UBC students built one of Canada’s first near-zero embodied carbon campus spaces, while in late 2022, ETH Zurich students constructed a timber dome made entirely from waste materials.
Learn more about Cal Poly Pomona's Roots House project here.
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