SCI Arc & Caltech
CHIP (which stands for “Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype”) is a prefab, net-zero solar-powered house, designed to challenge every architectural and engineering preconception regarding the net-zero-energy home.
CHIP is the result of a 2-year research, design, and construction collaboration between different Architecture schools and various consultants. The concept announces a new generation of energy-efficient, affordable housing.
The most singular feature of the design is CHIP’s unique exterior envelope strategy: a skin and insulation assembly which turns conventional wisdom on its head, wearing its thermal performance “on its sleeve.” Separating the structural members from the insulating layer, and wrapping the insulation assembly in a flexible vinyl membrane gives CHIP an exterior envelope with the extremely high R-values necessary for a net-zero house, at a significantly reduced cost, while indexing this performance in its physical appearance.