Collection by Diana Budds

Solar Decathlon Highlights

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From September 23rd to October 2nd, Washington D.C.'s monuments to presidential greats and civic leaders, museums of art and history, and houses of government were juxtaposed with houses of another breed: the green and technologically-advanced. Once every two years since 2002, teams of students from all across the United States (and now all across the globe) congregate on the National Mall in a Department of Energy-sponsored competition to design and build energy-efficient, solar-powered homes. This year, in the Solar Decathlon's 5th competition, 20 teams from five countries presented their designs, which ranged from SCI-Arc and Caltech's highly conceptual "outsulated" CHIP house, to Appalachian State's Solar Homestead influenced by vernacular typologies, to the University of Maryland's WaterShed whose micro-wetland helps reduce water pollution. I toured the homes this weekend and share a few of my favorite designs.

Visitor tour the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, D.C., Friday, Sept.
Inspired by traditional Appalachian settlements, Solar Homestead by Appalachian State University in Boone, North...
Along the large porch/breezeway are bifacial solar panels (and a few Bertoia chairs).
The home consists of one main building and three outbuildings that can be configured in many different ways.
Here's the combined kitchen, living room, and dining room.
Here's one of the bedrooms.
The University of Maryland took home the first place in the Decathlon with their WaterShed design that was inspired by...
A solar thermal wall heats the Maryland home.
Here's the bathroom.
Here's a model of the plants in the artificial marsh surrounding the home and the various states of water as it flows...
The interior spaces are finished with a combination of southern yellow pine and laminated veneered lumber, which helps...
Here's the kitchen, one of the smallest in the Decathlon, but it's armed with the essentials: a sink, fly ash concrete...
In our May issue, we profiled the OSU Knowlton School of Architecture and their entry to the Decathlon was one of my...
Here's a view of the multipurpose living space.
Here's a view of the kitchen—tiny, but it's equipped with all the convinces of a larger space.
OSU's theme was family-friendliness. Here's the kids' room just off the living room/office.
Parsons, the Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban...
After the Decathlon, the site net-zero, 1,000 square-foot home will be donated to a family in the Deanwood neighborhood...
The home will eventually become a two-story duplex.
The focus of this house was on energy preservation over energy creation and was built to strict Passive House standards.
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