Innovations from the 2011 Solar Decathlon

Appalachian State University The team's solar canopy made with Sanyo bifacial solar panels accepts sunlight from above or below, for up to 30% extra efficiency under ideal conditions.

Appalachian State University The movable trombe wall in the living room contains phase-change material that absorbs and releases heat.

Team Belgium Built to the Passive House standard, the E-Cube is an affordable kit house that can be assembled in days with no special tools or machinery.

Canada The house's design was inspired by the teepees of the native people of Southern Alberta. Its east-facing entrance and south-facing windows acknowledge the sun as a traditional source of energy and life.

Team Florida A liquid dessicant waterfall pulls humidity out of the air to keep the house more comfortable and reduce demand on the air conditioner.

Florida International Versatile louvered canopies help the house adapt to Florida's hot and sunny climate by allowing for various levels of enclosure. They can slide down and lock into place for added hurricane protection.

University of Illinois The Re_home concept was designed as a rapid-response solution for rebuilding after a natural disaster. It is made up of two prefabricated housing units that can fit on one truck and be installed on site in 12 hours.

Team Massachusetts High-efficiency PV panels are integrated into the southern trellis over the deck, generating electricity and shading the deck and living area in the summer while allowing low-angle sunlight to penetrate in the winter. The triple-glazed argon-filled Makrowin windows are Passive House-certified with R-10 glass.

Middlebury College A green wall for growing vegetables, fruit, and herbs uses water from condensation from the home's HVAC system, which is collected and funneled to a spigot near the refrigerator.

New Zealand A one-of-a-kind drying cupboard dries clothes by pumping solar-heated hot water through a heat exchanger located at the bottom of the cabinet. It can dry a load of wet towels in about two hours.

New Zealand Shower water falls through wooden slats into a stainless steel tray below and then flows into a greywater tank where it is held until it's used for irrigation.

Ohio State University Shaded by polycarbonate panels, the enCORE home features living spaces arranged around a central core that contains the mechanical and plumbing systems.

SCI-ARC/CALTECH The futuristic-looking CHIP house features a one-piece tufted exterior skin that acts as a weather barrier and provides an R-value of 60.

University of Tennessee The rooftop holds a cylindrical tube solar array--the only one like it in the competition--that captures light from all angles as the sun moves through the sky. Thin film is wrapped around the inside of the tubes for 360-degree light capture and more steady power generation throughout the day.

Tidewater Virginia The sun room's floor contains phase change material from BioPCM which holds onto heat during the day and releases it to warm the home long after the sun goes down.

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