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Solar Powered House Competition: Bestlaminate Collaboration

by Bestlaminate
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Made With STILE

Not only is this house made with STILE , but this house is also part of a collegiate student competition in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. In this competition, teams design, build, and operate solar-powered houses. The goal of these houses is not only to be attractive and energy-efficient but also cost-effective and made with STILE.

Made With STILE Project Overview
Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Solar Decathlon Team

This particular house, the STILE House, is the entry from the WVU-UTV Team for this year’s competition. Certainly, Bestlaminate is excited to be a part of this year’s sponsors! We had the opportunity to provide quality flooring for the inside of the house.

Competition Start in California!

The Solar Decathlon Competition has begun! The WVU-UTV Team has made the journey to Irvine, California to begin assembling their solar-powered home. In 9 days, the team will have a fully functioning, off-the-grid home!

STILE House Pre-Construction

Courtesy of the WVU-UTV team, these pictures show the progress of the pre-construction at WVU. In preparation for the decathlon, the team assembled the main structure of the house on the WVU Campus, creating a modular structure that can easily ship across the country. To protect the internal structures during the travel, the team decided to wait until the site builds in Irvine to install the flooring, cabinets, and high-tech windows.

Competition Start building base
Setting the Foundation – Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Team
Competition Start base building continued
Building the Steel Structure – Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Team
Competition Start coming together in base installation
Steel Structure Coming to Life! Courtesy of the WVU-UTV team
Assembling the Roof – Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Team
Base fully built
The Structure Ready to Be Shipped – Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Team

Getting There

The team used 4 semi-trucks to move the STILE House across the country, thousands of miles, from West Virginia University to Irvine, California. The team strategically needed to arrange transportation, package it effectively and plan the logistics of the trip. As you can see, their shipping container modules made transportation and installation one site easy by transporting the full container.

Truck loading up with wood to build
Loading the Trucks! Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Team
Cranes Lift the One Shipping Container to the Truck – Courtesy of the WVU-UTV Team

Competition Start

The WVU-UTV Team was first through the gate and eager to start assembling the STILE House!

The WVU-UTV Team at the Competition! Courtesy of the Solar Decathlon

On the first day of the competition, the team got its foundation set and began placing its first module! Next up is the arch.

Coming along in building process
First Day Progress Collage – via WVU-UTV Instagram

Solar Powered House – Making the Flooring Decision

Just like anyone else shopping for flooring, the WVU-UTV team had a variety of needs that the flooring needed to meet for the Solar Decathlon Competition. The hard part? There were more than 10 people weighing in on the final decision! Oh, and the building of this home takes place in WVU, is being torn down, shipping to California, and then getting re-built. Talk about a unique situation! The team needed eco-friendly and durable flooring!

With everything in mind, the Bestlaminate team took a trip to WVU for their opening reception. Our job was to consult with the team on choosing cost-effective, Eco-friendly, and durable flooring for their solar home.

STILE series conference on flooring.
Team Leaders Speaking at the Opening Reception

Flooring Goals

  1. Durability: Having the durability to accommodate 30,000+ visitors for touring the home, installing, uninstalling, and re-installing.
  2. Functionality: For occupants after the competition.
  3. Cost-effective: The judging is based on appraisal values of the total home cost.
  4. Eco-friendly: The competition focus is on renewable energy innovations.
  5. DIY installation: The students will need to be able to install this floor themselves.
  6. Aesthetically Pleasing: Completing the Italian and Appalachian design along with creating a comfortable living space.

1. Durability

Typically, flooring installation guarantees these floors will stay put for several years. However, with this situation, the intent was to uninstall and re-install the flooring. While this is possible, this makes the flooring decision a little more strategic.

Knowing that thousands of people will be touring their home, along with the installation challenges, we knew they needed a thick, durable laminate with at least an AC3 rating. After discussing the project with the interior designers, we chose a range of samples that hit their targeted look, as well as durability needs. We brought samples from 8mm to 12mm and floors that only had AC3 ratings and above.

In the end, the team was set on a 12mm, but decided against the AC4 style and went with an AC3 rated floor. As a heavy residential rating, the AC3 should stand up to their needs. Keep reading to find out which floor they chose!

WVU-UTV Team discussing flooring samples

2. Functionality

Aside from the competition judging, this home is in need of functional flooring. This home can be sold or donated after the competition, so functional flooring is a necessity. To improve the overall functionality of the home, the team decided to go with a moisture-proof vinyl for the bathroom. Although laminate can be installed in a bathroom, vinyl provides future occupants with a low-maintenance bathroom floor that will be completely moisture resistant.

3. Cost-Effective

Laminate and vinyl floors are one of the most versatile and cost-effective flooring options on the market, not to mention the money saved on a DIY installation. All of the flooring samples we showed the team retail for $2.75/sq. ft. or below, making it an affordable option. For the competition, Bestlaminate donated the flooring.

4. Eco-Friendly

The team chose a Quick-Step laminate product which is LEED-certified, USA made, and has a manufacturing process dedicated to recycling, reusing, and renewing. The U.S. produced Quick-Step boards are made of 74% pre-consumer recycled wood fibers and chips from sustainable sources. Also, these floors are rigorously testing for the CARB-2 Compliance and pass the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) Certification Seal testing. Read more about Quick-Step’s sustainability here.

5. DIY Installation

The student team is installing this floor themselves, as well as potentially installing, uninstalling, and re-installing in California. With that said, the team needs a flooring solution that’s easy to install and has the ability to be un-installed fairly easily.

With the easy click together locking system, the laminate is a perfect choice for their needs. The vinyl flooring for the bathroom features a glueless locking system and also has the ability to be installed and further un-installed for rebuilding. We will be following their installation progress in an upcoming post!

6. Aesthetically Pleasing

Merging the team’s cultures by creating a home with both Roman and Appalachian design elements has been a key to the home development. The team was looking for a floor that was a light maple or oak to coordinate with the modern feel of the interior design. The laminate samples compared included Kronoswiss Prestige Maple, Quick-Step Dominion Sesame Maple, Quick-Step Reclaime Veranda Oak, and Quick-Step Reclaime Malted Tawny Oak.

The team was instantly drawn to the Reclaime collection due to its real-wood look, as well as having 12 mm thickness. Additionally, these boards were sturdy and have a rustic, yet modern natural appearance. The planks feature all-natural textures with grooves and knots along with varying hues that complement the overall interior. The team was in a great debate over the Veranda and Malted Tawny. Veranda includes an AC4 rating and Malted Tawny an AC3 rating.

Eco-friendly and durable flooring planks being laid out.
Assessing the flooring samples
Eco-friendly and durable flooring being compared.
The great flooring debate!

Eco-Friendly and Durable Flooring

And the winner is Reclaime Malted Tawny! They chose Appalachian Linen Luxury Vinyl Flooring for the bathroom. We can’t wait to see what it looks like installed!

eco friendly and durable flooring choice malted tawny
The Winner: Malted Tawny Oak!

Their final choice was both eco-friendly and durable flooring, perfect for what they needed!

Project Overview:

STILESustainable Technologies Integrated in a Learning Experience (also Italian for Style)

Who: Nearly 50 students from West Virginia University and the University of Roma Tor Vergata. The project joins forces with a diverse range of student disciplines, including engineering, computer sciences, architecture, interior design and communications.

Where: The Solar Decathlon takes place in Irvine, California. Firstly, the STILE House will first be built from the ground up on the WVU campus. Then to be de-assembled and taken apart. Lastly, shipped to California to be entirely rebuilt in the competition.

When: The competition is from October 8-18, 2015

House Tour: The two universities joined forces to create a product that merges both the Italian and Appalachian design. Working together, they spent 2 years planning, creating proposals, and designing the Eco-efficient house. Additionally, using shipping containers as the modular structure, they added innovative energy and design techniques. In other words, this maximizes efficiency, space, comfort, and sustainability. Learn more about the house through this guided home tour courtesy of the WVU-UTV Solar Decathlon Team:

For more details, visit: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/

Quick-Step NatureTEK Select Reclaime Malted Tawny Oak Laminate Flooring

This laminate flooring is 12mm thick with an AC4 commercial durability rating. The flooring is waterproof, which means you can install this throughout your home without worry! It is also scratch and dent resistant. Install it on your own with the easy Uniclic locking system.

Order your free sample at Bestlaminate.com



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