The CHIP Solar House is a highly-efficient working prototype of a futuristic living space. Powered by the sun and smartly insulated, CHIP produces and saves all the energy it needs. In certain areas of the country, the residents could actually sell back power to the grid. Created by students from the California Institute of Technology and the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the “Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype Solar House” was designed to work with both the natural flows of human behavior and with nature’s cycles.
The CHIP team explains:
CHIP’s flexible, stepped interior adopts the ethic of “doing-more-with-less”, allowing a single, continuous volume to perform in a variety of different ways to serve the occupants daily needs. The program is divided into a series of platforms which are terraced upward and inwards, from the most public to most private. The distribution of program from north-to-south, and high-to-low, facilitates the occupants’ daily rhythms: a progression downhill in the morning in the form of sleep/groom/dress/eat/live – and vice versa in the evening.
Adding to the sci-fi appeal of this unusual living space, an Xbox Kinect command station allows occupants to control home systems (such as lighting) with simple hand gestures. As a back up, a 3D camera tracks movement in the space and has lights turned off when an area becomes empty.