The Tiny House Competition Introduces the rEvolve House

For those of you that have never heard of it, the Tiny House Competition is a new competition located in Sacramento, California and is modeled largely on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. It is a challenge that invites all college students around the world to develop and build the world’s most efficient solar powered house.




It’s a competition that has clearly grown a lot in terms of its popularity since it began and as many as 20,000 people showed up to view the display.  Some school’s projects cost more than $250,000 by the time they were done and some even upwards of a million.  This competition is serious stuff and is great as it attempts to solve real life problems and not just invent something that is really cool.

Although the competition is only open to university’s or colleges in California, it still managed to gather ten schools that were happy to showcase their tiny, solar-powered, energy-efficient houses at the SMUD event.  There are several areas in which the teams are judged, including livability, communication, architectural design, sustainability, transportation, and energy efficiency and balance, but this year’s overall competition saw first prize go to a team of students from California’s Santa Clara University with their entry, the rEvolve House.

The rEvolve House is a marvelous creation and is easy to see how it won first place.  It’s an off-grid house that measures in at just 238 square feet and comes complete with a built-in kitchen with bench seating and a fold down table, a generous (considering) 35ft wet room with dry flush toilet, shelves, and an elevated sleeping area.  There is even a spiral staircase that leads to a roof deck.  The whole thing runs on just eight 330w solar panels and is also fitted with batteries that can store energy for use when needed for maximum efficiency.

Another top winner of the competition was the University of California, Berkley’s entry – THIMBY, which stands for Tiny House in My Backyard). This won awards in four areas including one for best craftsmanship and another for later conservation.  This is even smaller than the rEvolve House at just 170 square foot but is still a fantastic creation nonetheless.  It uses a Tesla Powerwall lithium ion battery to store energy when not needed for use at a later date and also features a living wall that recycles greywater for other uses.   However, these are just two of the many entrants in the competition.  For a full list, check out the official website.





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