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2013 Solar Decathlon: PEAK

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

2013 Solar Decathlon: PEAK

Project Status

Student Work


U.S. Department of Energy

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Project Description


PEAK was designed with one vision in mind: to capture the Appalachian spirit of West Virginia and take it to the competition. Our home strives to create a rustic, natural home environment while incorporating contemporary living with smart automation. PEAK features:
- Two bedrooms, one and a half baths, a family dining and living area, a modern kitchen and a utility room
- A fulcrum in the center of the house which represents a hearth, creating a gathering place for the family and serving as a ventilation system
- Walls consisting of structural insulated panels (SIPs) with sustainable log siding and wood paneling to give the appearance and feel unique to a log home
- Traditional light fixtures and student-crafted wood furniture to fit the Mountaineer atmosphere
- A fully automated “SMART” home system that includes:
- A fully integrated PA system
- Room temperature zoning
- Occupant energy education
- Sustainable elements such as:
- A photovoltaic power generation system
- A solar-operated hot water system
- A green roof
- A living wall

PEAK will be used to host a variety of functions and events for the school, community, and surrounding areas. It will stand as a demonstration of what a team of undergraduate WVU students can accomplish and will be used for further research into sustainability and energy efficiency.

University of Rome “Tor Vergata”
When it came time to design their Solar Home for The 2013 Solar Decathlon, Team PEAK developed a need for architecture knowledge to go along with their engineering expertise. In the early planning stages of Team PEAK’s Solar Home, University of Rome Tor Vergata provided valuable feedback and a collaborative partnership was formed. Architecture students from University of Rome Tor Vergata continue to be heavily involved and regularly communicate with the West Virginia University engineering students on this project. These universities bring architecture and engineering together to create a highly efficient solar home that reflects the culture and history of Appalachia.

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