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Living Light House


The LIVING LIGHT home is intended as a retreat from the visual and physical clutter of the Information Age while integrating technology seamlessly into the design.

Inspired by the cantilever barns of Southern Appalachia, the floor plan organizes support spaces into two dense cubes of program framing the open living space in between.

The greatest luxuries in the LIVING LIGHT home are volume and light.

Leadership Committee:

- Edgar Stach, Professor, Architecture
- Barbara Klinkhammer, Associate Dean, Architecture
- James Rose, Lecturer, Architecture
- Dr. Leon Tolbert, Professor, Electrical Engineering
- Deborah Shmerler, Associate Professor, Graphic Design

The project team included over 300 students and faculty from nine disciplines across campus.

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Our Approach


Mission Statement

Our goal is to develop a modular house based on prefabricated components that will enhance the energy efficiency and sustainability of both new and existing buildings. UT • zero was initiated as a project to study the integration of technology, energy efficient construction, and environmental sustainability with the intent to share knowledge with the region by engaging and educating academia, local businesses and builders, the industry and governmental constituencies, and the public.


Conceptual Design Approach:
Four Key Strategies

To achieve the goals outlined above, ut’s conceptual design will employ four key strategies:Integrated Design Approach, Sustainable Prefab Strategies, Intelligent Building Envelope, and Global Ideas—Local Values—Teaching Sustainability.


Design Philosophy & Approach

UT’s Solar Decathlon project is based on three technological design principles: functionality, integration, and robustness. The team supplemented regional resources with global expertise, with the provision that the design will always be guided by the ethic of appropriate technology, utilising common systems when adequate and innovative or complex systems only when necessary.


Technical Design Philosophy

The ut Solar Decathlon House will be based on three design principles: functionality, integration, and robustness. Functionality, the ability of a design to operate, is crucial to design considerations because of its influence on future technologies and research in the field of energy efficient homes. Seamlessly integrating systems is critical to the overall success of a functioning energy efficient house and should be considered in the initial design

Take a closer look

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The utZero Energy House Prototype was the first project to be completed under the utZero team.

The unit showcases innovation in the areas of:

- building materials
- solar energy
- energy efficiency
- home design

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