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Latest Articles in Solar

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Energy Solar Decathlon show home solar panels

7 Solar Powered Homes

These seven beautiful homes are harnessing the power of the sun and doing it with modern elegance. Click through for inspiration on how to incorporate solar panels into your own home design and make going green look good.
November 26, 2013
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The First LEED Gold-Certified Family Home in San Diego

A multi-generational home in San Diego, California, elegantly combines sustainability and luxury.
June 29, 2013
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An Aluminum-Clad Green Energy Home in England

Green Orchard, the home Paul Archer designed for his parents outside Bristol, England, sows the seeds of an active retirement.
May 15, 2013
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Stress-Test Architecture

An artist-led design project invites curious interlopers to live in a pod prototype built for an uncertain future, and Dwell's intrepid reporter gets hands-on experience living in one of the architecture pods.
March 15, 2013
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Bach to Nature

Two doctors wanted their typical New Zealand home to function as simply as it looks.
March 14, 2013
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Modern Green Concept House in South Korea

The E+ Green Home, a concept house located an hour outside Seoul, not only points the way to a greener South Korea, it may well be the most sustainable house in the country.
March 25, 2012
Energy Solar Decathlon show home solar panels

About Face

Solar panels have a reputation as being unsightly, but this U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon show home sheds the stereotype that photovoltaic arrays are eyesores.
March 17, 2012
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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 5

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 5: How do ground source heat pumps and solar panels work?   Two of our most central technologies in achieving zero net energy are our ground source heat pump system (for heating and hot water), and our solar panels (which generate electricity). The two account for about 60% of getting to zero net energy, so obviously they play a key role.  Ground source heat pumps are a well-known technology, but are generally not mainstream, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. The system combines three highly efficient processes which together result in a system which over three times more efficient than a typical forced air furnace. The slides give a good narrative to how the system works, but if you’d like more details, check out the ground source system sign from the zHome education signage—it is the second sign in sign package one. Solar energy, surprisingly, works quite well in the Northwest—solar panels here put out about 70% of the solar energy of a panel in Sacramento. Solar energy quietly is becoming more and more cost effective, with prices coming down and efficiency going up. Currently solar panels convert about 15-20% of the solar energy hitting them to energy—quite efficient when you consider that photosynthesis is only a half a percent efficient! Also, solar panels are quite durable—many panels from the 1970’s are still functioning well.  There is little to go wrong in them. Given how little maintenance they require (simple occasional  cleaning) there is a huge amount going for them.  
November 16, 2011
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Mr. CHIP Goes to Washington

A highlight of this year's Solar Decathlon was the CHIP house, designed, built, and transported to Washington DC by a team of over 100 SCI-Arc and Caltech students. The uniquely puffy "outsulated"  CHIP house—the Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype—is an effort to "address the contemporary issues or sustainability, energy efficiency, and affordable housing through a built work." If you missed it during the Decathlon, you have a few additional opportunities to check it out, most notably an exhibition opening this Friday at SCI-Arc's Library Gallery. "Mr. CHIP Goes to Washington," running through December 16, displays through photographs, video, and time-lapse footage the "frantic month in Washington D.C. that is the culmination of the team's two-year effort to conceptualize and develop its proposition for a new sustainability."
October 25, 2011
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