What is EnCity?
EnCity is the name of the community that the Washington State University Solar Decathlon team is building for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017. For the competition, we will bring a clubhouse and one resident home to compete with and model what our community could look like. EnCity is a pocket neighborhood of tiny homes that can be built on urban infill lots. These locations allow for the leverage of existing transportation and utility infrastructure to provide sustainable density within a city. The community has its own smart grid that manages collected sunlight and rainwater to allocate and share resources in the community with excess being returned to the city. Designed on passive design principles, these homes feature smart home technology for mobile device control and machine learning to make energy conservation decisions and provide energy saving recommendations to the residents.
What is the Solar Decathlon?
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition of 10 contests that challenge student teams to design and build full-size, energy-efficient, solar-powered houses. The winner most successfully blends design excellence, smart energy strategies, innovation, and market potential. Free to visitors, October 5 – 9 and 12 – 15, 2017, at the 61st & Peña station near Denver, Colorado’s International Airport, the event features a sustainability expo and professional, consumer, and middle school education events.
To form our foundation, we began with a focus on creating a comfortable living environment. This lead us to the need to foster a sense of community. Finally, with a strong base of comfort and community, we can inspire change.
People should be able to live sustainably and responsibly without feeling they made a sacrifice for comfort. EnCity strives to address just that through a balance of comfort and technology. Each residential house functions as a personal space with all the amenities a resident would need. In the buildings, all systems and innovations are designed to complement residents’ lifestyles and aid in their sustainability practices at a comfortable pace in a nonintrusive manner.
EnCity balances the need for both private space and personal connection. EnCity creates a community of efficient dwellings that work together by sharing spaces and resources and encouraging resident connections. This interdependent community creates an environment that encourages residents to collaborate in order to maximize sustainability. EnCity acts as a beacon for living responsibly with a model that can be scaled into a larger ecosystem of sustainable communities.
At the project’s base, we are changing sunlight into electricity, but at a deeper level, EnCity inspires transformational change. It challenges the traditional ideas of spacious, single-family homes at the expense of sustainability and provides an insight into sustainable and minimalist living styles. By creating a community that gives back to the environment and enriches residents lives, we encourage residents to rethink their role in sustainable living by changing perspective and actions.
Washington State University has a three-part mission:
To advance knowledge through creative research and scholarship across a wide range of academic disciplines.
To extend knowledge through innovative educational programs in which emerging scholars are mentored to realize their highest potential and assume roles of leadership, responsibility, and service to society.
To apply knowledge through local and global engagement that will improve quality of life and enhance the economy of the state, nation, and world.