Higher Education Buildings

Net-Zero From the Inside Out

January 14, 2014

Students in Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture will be researching zero-energy housing concepts in their Zero-Energy Design Housing Studio over the next year thanks to a gift from Resource Furniture and funding by Alcoa Foundation and Architecture for Humanity.

The interdisciplinary seminar and studio will explore the development of well-designed, ultra-low energy, cost effective urban housing by researching energy and design, material and spatial innovation, interior design/function and community design. Students majoring in architecture, high-performance building and engineering will work together to research and fully design, engineer and build a four- to 10-unit net-zero energy house prototype that will become a living laboratory for ultra-low energy efficiency testing and other related research.

“Cities are once again becoming popular places to live,” said Michael Gamble, associate professor and principal investigator on the project. “Because of this, and since the demand for affordable, energy-efficient housing outpaces the supply, it is imperative that we work to develop cutting-edge housing and demographic research, new design proposals and pragmatic policy recommendations that expand housing options. Thanks to the Alcoa Foundation, Architecture for Humanity, and Resource Furniture, we’ll be able to make significant headway in that direction.”

This funding from Resource Furniture is the latest in their ongoing commitment to sponsoring and promoting nonprofit and educational organizations, events and programs. The most recent sponsorships include the Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York as well as one third of the solar-powered homes that competed in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

The gift from Resource Furniture will facilitate the students’ investigation of net-zero energy housing with a specific focus on interior design, function and space efficiency. The funds will contribute to providing guest speakers, seminars, studio materials and other support throughout the academic year. At the end of the spring semester, each team will submit a final residential interior design, which will incorporate the demographic research and efficient design principles discussed throughout the year. These designs will be entered into a competition to be judged by a panel of representatives from a wide range of affiliated disciplines, including architects, interior designers, developers, researchers and editors. The winning design will be announced and showcased at Dwell on Design: June 20-22 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In addition to the interior design competition, some of the student teams will also design multifunctional furniture, which will be entered into a second juried competition to be judged over the summer.

“The work that the students are doing in this studio is incredibly important, and could revolutionize the housing industry,” said Ron Barth, co-founder of Resource Furniture. “Not only do we see the increasingly important role that energy and space efficiency is playing in housing, but this program is also perfectly aligned with our values. We are especially excited to host the two competitions and introduce the design concepts from these multi-talented future architects, engineers and builders to the public at Dwell on Design in June.”

From start to finish the project will be three years, with an additional five years of testing after completion. For ongoing information about the project, visit www.zedhstudio.com

Review Panel:

Dr. Sung Kim, Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Seoul;

Amelia Godfrey, Southface;

Heather Woofter, Chair, Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, Washington University;

Sarah Watson, Deputy Director, Citizens Housing & Planning Council;

Michael Gamble, Architect & Associate Professor, Georgia Tech;

Alix Ogilvie, Program Manager, Architecture for Humanity; 

Lisa Blecker, Director of Marketing, Resource Furniture;

Dr. Steven French, Jason Brown and Tim Harrison from Georgia Tech

Student Teams:

Team BKM: Bunny Tucker, Madona Cumar, Kaitlyn Pahel

Team NJT: Namrata Dani, Junying Shi, Tyrone Marshall

Team J2: James Van Horn, James Bramlett

Team EDA: Eli Damircheli

Team BBC: Nick Coffee, Jim Boyer, Katie Braswell

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