The University of Texas & Technische Universitat
Munchen Entry | Fall 2014 - Fall 2015
2015 SOLAR DECATHLON Competition | 4th Place Overall
The Solar Decathlon is a triennial competition that
takes place in the United States with the aim of challenging
universities and their students to design the
most efficient and sustainable residential home. The
competition takes place over a period of two years and requires student teams to design and build a fully
Built and exhibited in Irvine, California for the 2015
US Solar Decathlon, the NexusHaus addresses environmental
issues and efforts in sustainability through
four core concepts: density, energy, water and food.
Nexushaus incorporates a unique energy-water nexus
(ExW), a system that essentially utilizes solar energy and captured water to support the house. Serving
as an accessory dwelling unit, the house can be placed in the backyard of a residential lot in Austin to operate as a unit of
resource production. The house serves as a prototype for increased density in Austin as part of the Alley Flat
The house harnesses resources (solar energy, rainwater, and
auxiliary water) that would otherwise be wasted and be a burden on municipal infrastructure. Because
lower-income families are more vulnerable to water
and energy cost fluctuations, the ExW-Unit will increase occupants’ independence while contributing to their
long-term economic, environmental, and social stability.
The house was preassembled in Austin, TX and hauled to California for
final assembly under competition conditions, with the
final assessment covering 10 different categories that
included: energy balance, architectural innovation,engineering innovation, affordability, marketability and
The team took 4th place overall and brought
home 1st prize in energy balance, 2nd place prize
in affordability and 3rd place prize for engineering.
*My role in this project ranged from SD and DD
through to construction. I specifically workedon the facade and deck elements and took part in the assembly in Irvine, CA.
© michaelrahmatoulin 2020