Case Study on UC Berkeley/U of Denver Solar Decathlon Home: Affordable, Sustainable, Stackable Home Designed for Urban Infill in Richmond, Calif.

By Beko US

Students from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Denver have overcome the challenges of distance to create RISE (Residential, Inviting, Stackable, Efficient), an affordable, sustainable solution for middle- to low-income families who struggle with the cost of housing in densely populated areas. Providing energy-efficient appliances for the home is Chicago-area-based Beko US, Inc. (www.bekoappliances.com).


RISE is both schools’ first-ever entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which challenges the 12 participating university teams to design and build solar-powered houses. University teams must disassemble and ship their Solar Decathlon homes to Denver, Colo., and reassemble them for judging and exhibition to the public on Oct. 5-9, and 12-15, 2017.


While the RISE home is being built on the University of Denver campus, the design of the home started about two years ago on the UC Berkeley campus. An interdisciplinary team of UC Berkeley students with majors ranging from civil engineering, architecture and environmental design to legal studies, media studies and business worked on the home’s design. It took the team of real estate and construction management students from the University of Denver to actually build it.


Project manager Sam Durkin, a 2017 UC Berkeley graduate, said, “A good management team and a core group of students have worked well together across state lines, using weekly video calls and occasional visits to collaborate on the design and build.”

Beko Sponsors UC Berkeley/U of Denver Home/Add One


RISE features practical, logical design solutions as opposed to expensive technologies and elaborate systems to achieve energy-efficiency and sustainable living. The home is stackable to make it more environmentally friendly and more community-oriented than an individual unit. The design allows for multiplication and integration into larger sets of units that fit on long, narrow lots in urban areas. This particular unit is designed to represent the bottom one of a three-story model. “The larger concept is a community-driven commitment to more green living,” says Durkin.


The team plans to relocate the home to Richmond, a suburb just north of Berkeley, where it will be donated to the Richmond Community Foundation and sold as affordable housing to a family in its program.


Key features of the 816-square-foot home include:

  • Movable inner bedroom walls of sliding doors, queen beds that fold into the walls, and spacious cabinetry
  • A flexible floor plan that can be either a one- or two-bedroom unit
  • A 900-square-foot roof deck
  • An airtight envelope including R10 windows and R30 wall insulation made of sheep’s wool to reduce energy usage
  • Panasonic solar panels, a SolarEdge Inverter, and a Tesla Powerwall 2 integrated with an eGauge energy monitoring system
  • A low-maintenance, living moss wall on the façade that is a good source of air filtration


“Students and managers on the project have learned the life skill of taking a project from beginning to end – through inception, design, partnerships and construction – and how much drive you need personally through difficult times,” Durkin said. “In the process, we’ve gained team building and leadership skills, and learned how to interact on a professional level with HVAC suppliers, appliance manufacturers, homebuilding experts, etc.”


Beko Sponsors UC Berkeley/U of Denver Home/Add Two


The UC Berkeley/U of Denver team will receive prize money of at least $100,000 for its participation, and the overall winner will receive $300,000. The winner is the team that best blends design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency.


To fund the home, UC Berkeley’s Green Initiative Fund provided a grant of $32,000. The rest of the money has been provided by private donors and corporate sponsors like Beko.


After Solar Decathlon sponsor Beko expressed interest in providing appliances for the home, the UC Berkeley/U of Denver team looked at the size and energy ratings of the appliances. Durkin said, "Our team chose the Beko appliances because of how well they complemented the RISE home design. Their sleek and simple look combined with their efficient use of water and energy made them an easy choice for our kitchen and laundry room."


RISE uses the following Beko appliances:

  • Refrigerator (BFBF2412SS): The 24” counter-depth, bottom freezer refrigerator features NeoFrost Dual Cooling technology that has two separate cooling systems that maintain optimal humidity in the fridge, while keeping the freezer frost-free, and cooling twice as fast as conventional single cooking systems; a ProSmart Inverter compressor means it runs four times quieter than other refrigerator compressors while maintaining a consistent temperature to keep food fresh; fingerprint-free stainless steel
  • Over the Range Microwave (MWOTR30200CSS) – 1.5 cubic feet interior capacity; fingerprint-free stainless steel
  • Dishwasher (model DUT28430X) – 24” full console dishwasher with 45dBA Silent Operation; Aquaflex dual water pressure cycle; eight cycles; multipurpose, removable third rack; flexible baskets; fingerprint-free stainless steel
  • Stackable Compact Washer (WMY10148CO) and Dryer (model HPD24412W) – large capacity with 2.5 cu. ft. washing capacity and 4.1 cu. ft. drying capacity; 24” front-loading washer with 1,400 RPM maximum spin speed and 16 washing programs; 24” ventless heat pump dryer with 16 drying programs; chrome door rim; white

Beko Sponsors UC Berkeley/U of Denver Home/Add Three


Beko’s innovative heat pump dryer made the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2017 ENERGY STAR Most Efficient list for using 50 percent less energy than conventional dryers. Beko was among the first to bring the ventless heat pump technology to the marketplace. The heat pump dryer uses a closed-loop heat exchange system to dry at lower temperatures, saving money on energy bills and providing superior protection for clothes.


In addition, several Beko dishwashers made this year’s ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient list, and all models have earned ENERGY STAR marks for using advanced

technology to clean dishes brilliantly with less water and energy. Unique design features include multiple insulation layers to reduce thermal loss, and a variable speed circulation motor that automatically adjusts for optimum water and energy consumption.


Beko’s ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators also save energy and money and conserve the planet. They are built with 99.9 percent lead-free materials, are 100 percent free from ozone-depleting greenhouse gases, and are manufactured with 85 percent recyclable components.


In fact, the company has achieved the ENERGY STAR certification for over 90% of the major appliances in its Beko brand. According to the EPA, appliances with the ENERGY STAR label can help a consumer save $630 over a product’s lifetime.


With its sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017, Beko, the #1 European freestanding appliance brand just introduced into the North American market, is going the distance to help accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products and design in American homes.


“Everything we do as a brand is centered around sustainability and innovation,” said Hasan Yardimci, president, Beko US, Inc. “Our support of the Solar Decathlon is in keeping with our commitment to provide consumers with products that are both good for the globe and support their everyday needs.”


Beko Sponsors UC Berkeley/U of Denver Home/Add Four


Beko US, Inc. was founded in June 2016 and recently opened a distribution center in Bolingbrook, Ill.


About Beko US, Inc.

Beko US, Inc. is a subsidiary of Arçelik A.S., whose vision is “Respects the globe, Respected globally.” The company is committed to developing highly energy efficient electrical appliances that deliver exceptional value, superior quality, and high levels of customer satisfaction by listening and responding to the needs of consumers. With a growing presence in 140 countries worldwide, Beko is the fastest growing major appliance brand in Europe and the top-selling brand in the United Kingdom. In June 2016, Beko secured a place in the U.S. market, with retailer commitments and a sister brand, Blomberg, that has been a top choice in premium developments across North America since 2008. In 2017, Beko US, Inc. received the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for its outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. Beko is also the 2017 TWICE VIP Award winner in the high-efficiency washer category. For more information, visit www.bekoappliances.com or www.blombergappliances.com


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