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Performance and Form: A Net-Zero-Energy House

Visions and Voices

A team of students and faculty from across the university will design and build a net-zero-energy house as part of the 2013 Solar Decathlon competition. In conjunction with this opportunity, experts on sustainability and design will present a provocative discussion on the competition and its implications for the future of green living.

The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges interdisciplinary collegiate teams to design a net-zero-energy single-family house. In doing so, the Department of Energy hopes to advance innovation in the area of single-family-home design and to help bring these innovations to the mass market. Led by the USC School of Architecture and faculty directors Alice Kimm and Gary Paige, USC received an invitation to participate in the 2013 competition. This marks an unprecedented opportunity to bring together a truly multifaceted team of students, faculty and supporters from across the university with the common pursuit of creating a sustainable, efficient, but also spatially and aesthetically powerful physical environment. The School of Architecture; Viterbi School of Engineering; Rossier School of Education; School of Cinematic Arts; Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; and other programs at USC will join forces to design, engineer and build a net-zero-energy house. Following the competition period in 2013, the house will be relocated and donated to a family in the USC neighborhood. Its energy performance will be monitored for at least one year following move-in.

This event will bring together an interdisciplinary panel of experts on sustainability and design for a provocative conversation on the Solar Decathlon competition, its implications for long-term application and the future of green living. Panelists include Thom Mayne, Founder/Principal of Morphosis and Pritzker Prize laureate; Neil Denari, Founder/Principal of Neil M. Denari Architects and Professor/Vice Chair of UCLA Architecture & Urban Design; Michael Speaks, Dean of the College of Design and Professor of Architecture at University of Kentucky; Ralph Knowles, Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California; Anuradha Mathur, Professor and Associate Chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Pennsylvania; and moderator Alice Kimm, Director of Undergraduate Architecture and Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California. They will also present USC’s entry into the 2013 competition and will debate plans for its permanent donation and relocation.

A reception will follow in Harris Hall Courtyard. During the reception, a full-scale mockup of the USC Net-Zero House will be available for viewing on the South Lawn, adjacent to Watt Hall. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit written opinions and thoughts about the house at that time.

Organized by the USC School of Architecture.