Solar Decathlon 2013: Borealis, a small house for shared living
Team Alberta Solar Decathlon took a unique approach to the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition. Their entry, called Borealis, is designed to be shared by unrelated housemates. The small house features two separate bedroom and living room suites with a shared kitchen, dining room and bathroom in between. Sliding doors allow the two living rooms to be opened to the common space or closed off for privacy as needed. Each of the suites also has its own outside entrance and private deck. The home has a total of 915 ft2 (85.0 m2) of floor space.
Team Alberta Solar Decathlon designed Borealis for resource industry workers in remote communities, many of whom are single or commute from their home communities on a rotating schedule. However there are obviously many other situations where two people might want to share a small house for financial, social or familial reasons.
With the boom and bust nature of resource industries, housing in remote resource towns is often in short supply or of poor quality and uninspired design. Borealis offers a much more pleasant and sustainable home away from home. Its modular design allows it to be transported to where it is needed and installed quickly, solving the problem of bringing experienced construction workers to remote areas.
The shared center module contains all the mechanical equipment and plumbing, simplifying on-site assembly. Each suite has direct access to the bathroom, so the occupants don’t have to go through the common social space to reach it. Having two entrances to the bathroom would have been an on-going nuisance in the past, but that problem could probably now be solved with electronic door locks. Like Start.Home, Borealis has a wall of plants in the bathroom to help clean the air and provide the occupants with a touch of greenery over long winters. Solar tubes in the ceiling supply the plants with sunlight.
The detailed construction plans for Borealis have been put in the public domain, meaning they can be downloaded for free from the Solar Decathlon website.
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Photographs by Jason Flakes, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, and Team Alberta Solar Decathlon.
Text copyright 2013 SmallHouseBliss. All Rights Reserved.
Love this design, love the pops of color in the decorating, love that we see people using the space! But considering the purpose for the housing, I would have loved to see two bathrooms.
Love this house. It has all the space a small family would need. Very well designed. We need more of these types of homes.
I just came across this house and just love it!! A wonderful design with a great combination of energy use, layout and comfort. I am looking to move to a very rural area in the southwest U.S. and think the ” Borealis ” would be ideal for me. Thank for sharing such a wonderful idea with us!
I love this house! I wish you guys would put Prices, and costs to build something like this, or any other tiny houses. It will give people interested on building a Tiny Home like myself, ideas, and finances needed for such a project. Thanks
I too love this house. Have not been able to get floor plans that were initially offered. Perfect for the senior couple of which I am. Interested in building it (freight not financially feasible from Canada to Nevada!). How do you secure those floor plans, does anyone happen to know?
check out: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/past/2013/team_alberta.html
All the drawings and the project manual are available there on the right hand side. There are also many other homes like these, with all plans available.
Has anyone built this (besides the home for the competition) and is it viewable anywhere?
Im very interested in having this exact home built for me, i have the plans.. but how do i find out who builds these immaculate homes?! I don’t want anyone contractor doing it, i want a contractor who specializes in this exact industry