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2013 Solar Decathlon: Canopy House

Team Tidewater Virginia

Shared By

dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

2013 Solar Decathlon: Canopy House

Project Status

Student Work


U.S. Department of Energy

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Project Description


The Canopy House
Just as the canopy of a tree is a protective, sunlight-filled haven, the Canopy House is a safe, universally designed, solar-powered dwelling. The Canopy House's smart home technology allows its owners to live an independent lifestyle and age-in-place.
The Canopy House is designed to allow people to age in place in a safe, sustainable environment. The architectural design of the home incorporates Universal Design strategies such as tactile displays, audio-visual accessibility, and wheelchair accessibility. Passive design strategies, such as passive ventilation and daylighting, keep the interior of the house comfortable in a sustainable way.
The Canopy House celebrates the beauty of our natural environment by bringing elements from the outdoors indoors. Natural lighting softly illuminates the house through windows and solartubes. The house is oriented so the sun rises with the homeowner in the eastern bedroom and sets in the western public side. A portion of the southern face of the house opens completely to the exterior through the use of bi-folding glass doors, creating a connection between indoor and outdoor space. Materials, colors, patterns, and textures found in the house are inspired by the diverse beauty of the land and the sea found only in the Tidewater, Virginia region.
The Canopy House is a sustainable shelter that grants its homeowners the freedom of self-sufficiency. Through the incorporation of Universal Design principles, the Canopy House makes sustainable living accessible to all people, regardless of physical impairments and limitations. By taking universal design into consideration, the house design fulfills the needs of the aging United States population; allowing homeowners to safely make a transition into old age.
The floor plan of the house is organized into public space, consisting of a kitchen, dining, and living room, and a bedroom on the private side. The bathroom, and the “flex space,” (which houses the home office, washer and dryer) are located in the center of the house. The mechanical room is attached to the DIEM Wall.
DIEM stands for Data Integrating Engineering and Mechanics, as the entire home’s systems run through this main wall.The DIEM Wall is a tactile, audio-visual-feedback enabled “smart wall,” that provides the user with information on everything from the day’s weather to the mechanical systems in the house.

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