FleX House on D.C. National Mall
USF is part of Team Florida, competing against other universities creating energy-efficient housing.
By Amy Mariani
TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2011) – The University of South Florida has partnered with the University of Florida, University of Central Florida and Florida State University to participate in an international competition focused on energy efficiency and innovation.
Called Team Florida, the four schools worked together to create FLeX House -- a sustainable, stand-alone, portable, self-sufficient home meant for a couple or a small family. The team will leave for Washington, D.C. Sept. 14 to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon – a world-wide competition.
The design of the house is specific to Florida’s hot and humid climate. Borrowing from the Florida Cracker houses built near the turn of the 20th century, the home has an umbrella-like structure that prevents heat from becoming trapped within the structure. The classic architecture is juxtaposed with solar panels that provide the electricity – allowing the house to essentially power itself.
USF School of Architecture and Community Design Professor Stanley Russell said participating in Team Florida aligns well with USF’s personal goals.
“USF is promoting itself as a green campus and a university interested in renewable energy and sustainability,” said Stanley Russell, USF School of Architecture and Community Design professor. “So this is perfect for our image.”
Houses from all teams will be on display from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 on the National Mall, West Potomac Park. After the competition, FLeX House will travel back to Florida and become the Zero Energy House Learning Center, where it will raise awareness about sustainability and climatically responsible homes.