8 Homes That Are 100% Powered By The Sun

Categories: Homes / Dwellings

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Solar-powered homes are no longer reserved for the rich. There’s no clearer proof of the future in affordable and attractive solar housing than on the grounds of Irvine, California, where the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon is currently heating up. The collegiate competition features 14 student teams who have designed, built, and operated over a dozen amazing houses 100 percent powered by the sun. We’ve rounded up eight of our favorites from the competition—read on to get a peek into each of these homes.

This is a full transcript of an article found on Inhabitat, for the original piece follow the link at the bottom of the page.

GRoW Home by University of Buffalo

Though essential, solar isn’t the star of the sun-powered GRoW home—it’s the thriving all-weather vegetable garden at its center. Part greenhouse and part solarium, this ultra-efficient house runs on solar and thermal energy to achieve near total self-sufficiency. A 24-Silevo-panel photovoltaicsystem tops the folded roof and produces 9MWh per year, which the designers estimate is nearly double the amount of energy that residents will need.

Nest Home by Missouri University of Science and Technology

A great way to cut down on construction costs is by using reclaimed materials. That’s what students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology did for the Nest Home, a net-zero house built out of three disused shipping containers. The home was inspired by the shape of a bird’s nest and includes several energy efficient systems, such as greywater reuse, a hydroponic garden, and a photovoltaic array.

INhouse by California Polytechnic State University

California Polytechnic State University students designed the INhouse, a net-zero abode that lets you keep your garden intact even in times of drought. Shaded by a solar panel-topped structure, the water-smart INhouse drains all of its greywater into a constructed wetland system that then filters and redirects the water into landscape irrigation. The modular home also includes a home monitoring system that tracks and sends real-time building performance data to a smartphone app.

Indigo Pine by Clemson University

Your future solar-powered dream home could snap together like a puzzle without the need for any power tools. Clemson University students designed and built Indigo Pine, a solar-powered abode constructed from CNC-milled interlocking pieces that can be put together by hand without a single nail. Since plywood can be milled using any local CNC machine, Indigo Pine could be built almost anywhere its digital blueprints are received.

Shelter3 by Crowder College and Drury University

Disaster-proof architecture need not look like ugly concrete bunkers. The elegant Shelter3(pronounced shelter cubed) is an ultra-strong home that defends its residents in style from big storms. Powered with a photovoltaic system that’ll supply more electricity than it needs, the tornado-proof house ensures self-sufficiency even when the grid is destroyed. Students from Crowder College and Drury University home designed the net-zero.

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