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University of Maryland Wins 2011 Solar Decathlon

The winning house at the Solar Decathlon shows that the built environment can help preserve watersheds.

University of Maryland Wins 2011 Solar Decathlon

The winning house at the Solar Decathlon shows that the built environment can help preserve watersheds.

  • The home built by the University of Maryland team also features a green roof that slows rainwater runoff to the landscape and improves the houses energy efficiency.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp30FD%2Etmp_tcm48-927973.jpg

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    The home built by the University of Maryland team also features a green roof that slows rainwater runoff to the landscape and improves the houses energy efficiency.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    The home built by the University of Maryland team also features a green roof that slows rainwater runoff to the landscape and improves the house’s energy efficiency.

  • The students designed WaterShed with a strategy that balanced tradition and technology. The kitchen opens to a pergola shaded by edible vines like snap peas and grapes.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp30FE%2Etmp_tcm48-927974.jpg

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    The students designed WaterShed with a strategy that balanced tradition and technology. The kitchen opens to a pergola shaded by edible vines like snap peas and grapes.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    The students designed WaterShed with a strategy that balanced tradition and technology. The kitchen opens to a pergola shaded by edible vines like snap peas and grapes.

  • WaterSheds split butterfly roofs collect and direct water into the axis at the core of the house.

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    WaterSheds split butterfly roofs collect and direct water into the axis at the core of the house.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    WaterShed’s split butterfly roofs collect and direct water into the axis at the core of the house.

  • A large window in the bathroom offers a view to the outdoors, while an on-site wetland helps filter and recycle graywater from the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp3100%2Etmp_tcm48-927976.jpg

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    A large window in the bathroom offers a view to the outdoors, while an on-site wetland helps filter and recycle graywater from the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    A large window in the bathroom offers a view to the outdoors, while an on-site wetland helps filter and recycle graywater from the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher.

  • Appalachian State University won the Peoples Choice Award for its Solar Homestead, a net-zero energy confection inspired by early traditional Appalachian settlements.

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    Appalachian State University won the Peoples Choice Award for its Solar Homestead, a net-zero energy confection inspired by early traditional Appalachian settlements.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    Appalachian State University won the People’s Choice Award for its Solar Homestead, a net-zero energy confection inspired by early traditional Appalachian settlements.

  • An interior shot of Appalachian State's Solar Decathlon home.

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    An interior shot of Appalachian State's Solar Decathlon home.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    An interior shot of Appalachian State's Solar Decathlon home.

  • Solar Homesteads six outbuildings include an outdoor living space (the Great Porch) and adaptable Flex Space with a half-bath, outdoor shower, and outdoor kitchen.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp30FB%2Etmp_tcm48-927971.jpg

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    Solar Homesteads six outbuildings include an outdoor living space (the Great Porch) and adaptable Flex Space with a half-bath, outdoor shower, and outdoor kitchen.

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    Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

    Solar Homestead’s six outbuildings include an outdoor living space (the Great Porch) and adaptable Flex Space with a half-bath, outdoor shower, and outdoor kitchen.

When the dust settled on the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., the University of Maryland’s WaterShed house 2011.solarteam.org was declared the overall winner of the biennial competition.

“Maryland is a well-experienced team,” Solar Decathlon director Richard King told a crowd at an Oct. 1 press conference. “After taking second place in 2007, they rested and regrouped in 2009 and came to West Potomac Park in 2011 focused and determined to win.”

The DOE-sponsored decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. This year, organizers also added an affordability category to the mix.

Inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, the WaterShed house proposes solutions to water and energy shortages. “The concept of water led the design process,” says fourth-year architecture student Parlin Meyer. “Not only conservation but water use, giving visitors an idea of how a house relates to water.”

The school says the butterfly roofed house is a model of how the built environment can help preserve watersheds by managing stormwater on site, filtering pollutants from graywater, and minimizing water use.

Maryland won the competition with a total of 951.151 points (out of a possible 1,000), consistently scoring high marks for all categories, including a win in the architecture section. Architect Michelle Kaufmann, AIA, LEED AP, a juror in the architecture contest, said the home “achieves an elegant mix of inspiration, function, and simplicity.”

While Maryland took home the overall prize, Appalachian State University won the People’s Choice Award for its Solar Homestead, a net-zero energy confection inspired by early traditional Appalachian settlements. The home, which placed third in the architecture competition, consists of six outbuildings connected by the Great Porch—an outdoor living space protected by an 8.2-kilowatt trellis of bifacial solar cells.