INSTALLATION, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ANALYSIS OF THE ZE-ROW SOLAR HOUSE
Reinstall, Monitor and Document Effectiveness and Performance
Danny Samuels, FAIA / Visiting Professor, School of Architecture /
Director, Rice Building Workshop.
Nonya Grenader, FAIA / Professor in Practice, School of
Architecture/Assoc. Director, Rice Building Workshop.
Brent C. Houchens, PhD / Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
& Materials Science, Rice University.
David Dewane, Lead Architecture student, Rice University.
Roque Sanchez, Lead Engineering student, Rice University.
Over 200 architecture and engineering students (undergraduate and
graduate) that have contributed (and will continue to participate in)
the planning, design, building, re-installation, monitoring, and
documenting of the Ze-Row house.
Numerous community partners from the Houston area (engineers, material
suppliers, contractors, donors) have contributed their expertise and
The ZE-ROW House Team Faculty Advisors: Danny Samuels, Brent Houchens, Nonya Grenader with two of more than 30 students who went to the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C.
In October 2009, a dedicated team from the School of Architecture and
the George R. Brown School of Engineering participated in the Solar
Decathlon, a design/build competition that gives faculty and students
the opportunity to partner with industry leaders in a joint effort to
push the envelope of renewable energy at the scale of a single building.
The competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, selects 20 universities
(international in scope) to design, build, and operate a house run
entirely from solar energy. Each team must construct their house and
transport it to the National Mall in Washington D.C., where all twenty
houses come together to form a “Solar Village.” During the three-week
period on the Mall the houses competed with each other in ten
performance-based events and then opened for public tours (drawing
crowds well over 100,000 people).
The competition and exhibit process was a fulfilling event but the
Rice team envisions their design, the Ze-Row house, as a prototype that
will be a lasting contribution beyond the competition. Our objective is
--to re-install the house in a Houston neighborhood with critical need
--to monitor its energy effectiveness over the next year
--to document the house, highlighting the design aspects and levels of
For the past twelve years, the School of Architecture, through its
Rice Building Workshop (RBW), has been bringing affordable housing to
the Third Ward, a vibrant and historic Houston community. The Ze-Row
house will add a new level of sustainability to our affordable housing
initiatives, suggesting that renewable energy belongs in every
neighborhood. Rice faculty and students will work with the future
inhabitant to monitor the house and its systems over the next year, and
will document the results.
During this collaboration of Rice architecture and engineering
departments, with numerous community advisors, we will focus on the
sustainable implementation of the Ze-Row House, research into novel and
efficient energy conversion systems, and dissemination of knowledge to
the Houston and scientific communities. New data acquisition systems
have been implemented via a donation from Standard Renewable Energy.
Data from these systems, along with solar heating effectiveness will be
investigated both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Publications & Outcomes:
Presentation to American Society of Mechanical Engineers Convention, Nov. 2012.
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