Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Solar Decathlon
The solar decathlon is a fun competition that is a great example for new ideas in sustainable solutions. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 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. The event takes place every two years in Washington D.C..
When looking into this I found an amazing house, that has a great design and creative ideas. The House is called "The Watershed" and was designed by students at the University of Maryland. The house has two different sides and two seperate roofs. One roof is layered with solar panels to power the house with electricity. The other roof is topped with a butterfly garden, this is installed to collect rain water for everyday use. The house is projected to be able to sustain itself with electricity and water year round.
You may ask yourself, but there isn't enough rainwater to sustain it, and if so it may be acid rain. This is (to me) the coolest part of the house. The house is based on the ecosystem of Chesapeake Bay. Natural ecosystems have evolved over millions of years to sustainably harness energy, produce food, and recycle waste. Not to mention the house has a stream running through it!!!!
The house has a plethora of other features as well. Constructed wetlands, filtering stormwater and greywater for reuse.A green roof, retaining stormwater and minimizing the heat island effect. An optimally-sized photovoltaic array, harvesting enough energy from the sun to power WaterShed year round. Edible landscapes, supporting community-based agriculture. A liquid desiccant waterfall, providing high-efficiency humidity control in the form of an indoor water feature. A solar thermal array, supplying enough energy to provide all domestic hot-water, desiccant regeneration and supplemental space heating. Engineering systems, working in harmony, each acting to increase the effectiveness of the others. A time-tested structural system that is efficient, cost-effective and durable.
Here is a video of a digital walkthrough of the house. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZJe2CReFA8&feature=player_embedded