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Affordable Solar- & Water-harvesting House, built by students

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 18th, 2011


Graphic by Leah Davies

WaterShed, the University of Maryland’s [winner of] the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011, is a solar-powered home comprised of systems that interact with each other and the environment. A home that harvests, recycles, and reuses water, WaterShed not only conserves but produces resources with the water it captures. Inspired by the rich, complex ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the home displays harmony between modernity, tradition, and simple building strategies, balancing time-trusted best practices and cutting-edge technological solutions to achieve high efficiency performance in an affordable manner.  The home was built by a multi-disciplinary team of students over the course of two years.

About the Design:

WaterShed is a solar-powered home inspired and guided by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, interconnecting the house with its landscape, and leading its dwellers toward a more sustainable lifestyle. The house is formed by two rectangular modules capped by a split-butterfly roof that is well-suited to capturing and using sunlight and rainwater. The spacious and affordable house features:

  • constructed wetlands, filtering storm water and grey water 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 and each acting to increase the effectiveness of the others
  • a time-tested structural system that is efficient, cost-effective, and durable.
About the Solar Decathlon:

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition challenging 20 student teams from universities around the world to design and build houses powered entirely by the sun. Over ten competition days, the teams compete in ten different events such as architecture, engineering, and affordability. The team with the highest overall score is the winner. Each day the winner of one of the ten contests is publicly announced, providing the opportunity for individual recognition among the decathlete teams. The winner of the 2011 competition will be the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. This year’s competition [was] on public display in the solar village at West Potomac Park, Washington, DC from September 23 – October 2. The house entries will be judged in subjective contests such as market appeal, communications, and home entertainment, and objective measured tests such as comfort zone, hot water, and energy balance. The houses are on public exhibition with the intent of educating visitors about environmental issues, emerging sustainable technologies, and energy-saving measures.

http://2011.solarteam.org/


DIY Solar-Powered Indoor Kitchens

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on August 26th, 2011

Source: No Tech Magazine

From “Build a Solar Powered (Interior) Kitchen“:

Solare Brücke is an organisation that promotes the distribution of solar thermal technology, both in developing countries and in the first world. They offer detailed construction manuals, which can all be downloaded for free.

One example is the Scheffler-Reflector: “To make cooking simple and comfortable the cooking-place should not have to be moved, even better: it should be inside the house and the concentrating reflector outside in the sun. The best solution was a eccentric, flexible parabolic reflector which rotates around an axis parallel to earth-axis, synchronous with the sun. Additionally the reflector is adjusted to the seasons by flexing it in a simple way.”

The Scheffler-Reflector can be built in steel or aluminium, and there are additional manuals available for the mechanical tracking system, a stove and a baking oven. There are also plans for a solar tunnel dryer and a smaller solar cooker.

Read the original article at No Tech Magazine.


Sustainable House Day

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on September 2nd, 2009

Source: Climate Action Calendar

Sustainable house day-large

Sustainable House Day is on again!

Sunday 13th September 2009. Houses open between 10am and 4pm

This is the 8th year of the successful Sustainable House Day – where houses across Australia are opened to show you how to live more sustainably.

And this year it’s FREE!

Environmental awareness – or being ‘green’ – is great, but putting it into practice around your own home is the best contribution you can make to living in harmony with our planet.

Find out direct from home owners who’ve put sustainable living into practice, about reducing waste around your home, saving water, natural home heating and cooling and more.

http://www.sustainablehouseday.com/