The Solar Decathlon - University of Colorado

Isaac was part of a small team competing in a solar home competition. His duties included Branding, Graphics, Transportation and Architecture.

In the Solar Decathlon competition, teams from the United States, Canada and Europe gather amidst a changing tide of worldwide energy use to offer a ray of inspiration to the public and policy makers. U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and many other corporate sponsors, sponsored this project.

The design team. Isaac was in charge of Graphics, Branding, Documentation and Transportation

BioS(h)IP Design Mission

The design is based on the Team’s Mission Statement: “To integrate natural materials and innovative technologies in an environmentally conscious, publicly accessible, modular, solar home design.” The resulting residence is a low-to-no petroleum single-chassis solar mobile home incorporating a patent-pending structural insulated panel system, called the BioSIP, which was invented by the CU Team specifically for their Solar Decathlon entry.



The CU BioS(h)IP is a green-built, modular, solar mobile home with movable roof for compact travel. It is constructed from a range of low-to-no petroleum natural materials in combination with the, biobased modular building system, called “BioSIPs”, which the team has in the patenting phase. This insulating panel system comprises the home’s wall system and is secured to a six axle, singlewide steel chassis, which provides the home’s “foundation”. The BioS(h)IP has a movable roof that can be lowered and shut, like a suitcase, for easy travel. Structural hinges on one end of the tilted roof plane, and standard, off-the-shelf jacks at the opposite end hold the roof in its angled position. When lifted, clerestory windows are revealed between walls and roof to provide natural light and openness to the home’s interior. 


The CU BioS(h)IP represents residential design that is powered by renewable energy, constructed from a range of low to no petroleum materials. The CU Team designed their Solar Decathlon home on the philosophy that alternatives to petroleum-based energy and building methods can provide solutions to many of the US's environmental problems

The CU BioS(h)IP integrates biobased materials and systems with renewable energy in a solar mobile design that is beautiful, comfortable, and repeatable in accordance with a wide range of budgets. From the high performance windows to the cornstarch plastic dishes on bamboo Kitchen shelves, the BioS(h)IP illustrates that environmental design can be exciting, vivid and stimulating. The home is constructed from a range of natural materials in bright hues of lime greens, reds, oranges, and yellows -- the colors you see in gardens, fields, and citrus orchards. The lively environmental materials and finishes that are used both inside and outside the CU residence will delight visitors to the home.



The CU team won the Solar Decathlon competing against fifteen national and international teams. Isaac directed the graphic design, communications, branding, website, marketing and interior design seen by competition judges and more than 100,000 visitors to the event.  

Some of the awards CU won are: International Champion 2005; First Place: Website (Isaac team lead); First Place: Branding Publications (Isaac team lead); First Place: Documentation (Isaac team lead); First Place: Transportation (Isaac team lead); British Petroleum: Solar Award Best Green Design; Do It Yourself Network: Best Built Home and eChievement Award - eTown.


Isaac Oaks was part of the University of Colorado Solar Decathlon 2005 team. 
This work represents Isaac and the Teams achievements between 2003-06.