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Engineering News Winter 2017

SCU's 2016 Tiny House team celebrates their victory in front of rEvolve House

SCU's 2016 Tiny House team celebrates their victory in front of rEvolve House

Big Win in a Small Package

Santa Clara’s rEvolve House took first place at California’s inaugural Tiny House competition last October.

An interdisciplinary team of undergraduates researched, designed, and built the 238-sq-ft, solar-powered home, and their hard work over the past two years paid off. The team won all the measured contests outright, such as heating water and maintaining a constant comfort level. (“Close the door!”) It also won big in the subjective categories.

While the home boasts many innovative features, what really wowed visitors and judges alike was rEvolve House’s solar tracking system. This 40-ft diameter rotating ring was designed and built to the team’s specifications by Colossun, a leader in solar energy management. The entire tiny house sits on a turntable programmed to slowly follow the sun, capturing as much energy as possible during daylighthours. A bonus: the tracking system created space for a huge outdoor deck, and an additional rooftop deck accessed by a sleek spiral staircase afforded even more getaway space.

Faculty project leader Tim Hight said, “This team of students was highly motivated and worked really well together. They were inspired by their client, Operation Freedom Paws, to design and build a house that is at once welcoming, elegant, efficient, and also practical. The team also overcame many obstacles, not the least of which was the loss of their mentor Papa Reites.”

The rEvolve House took top honors in the main categories of Communication and Energy, as well as in six sub-categories: Best Daylighting, Best Integrated Lighting, Best Interior Design, Best Kitchen Design, Best Program, and Best Tour.

rEvolve House is now installed at Operation Freedom Paws, a local nonprofit empowering military veterans' independence.

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The gleeful team celebrates their victory!  Photo: Joanne Lee, SCU Photographer