After two years of hard work and dedication, students from the University of Maryland basked in the glow of top honors at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011 after designing, building and operating an energy-efficient, cost-effective and attractive solar-powered house, WaterShed.
On Saturday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the winners of the global Solar Decathlon competition at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Purdue University took second place, followed by New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) in third place.
Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
|The University of Maryland's entry placed first overall in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, D.C.|
Inspired by Chesapeake Bay, WaterShed harvests, recycles and reuses water while blending modernity, tradition and simple building strategies, said Amy Gardner, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Maryland and principal investigator for the project. The university said the house “balances time-tested best practices and advanced technological solutions to achieve high efficiency performance in an affordable manner.”
Among the design’s feature are:
• a split-butterfly roof, well-suited to capture and use both sunlight and rainwater;
• constructed wetlands that filter stormwater and greywater (household water with limited contaminants);
• a green roof to retain rainwater and promote efficient cooling;
• a photovoltaic array to harvest enough solar energy to power WaterShed year-round;
• a solar thermal array to fulfill all domestic hot water needs;
• “edible landscapes” that support community-based agriculture;
• a patent-pending indoor, liquid desiccant waterfall for high-efficiency humidity control;
• an efficient, cost-effective, durable and time-tested structural system.
“This competition to build innovative, highly energy-efficient homes has been two years in the making, and all of these teams must be commended for their hard work,” said Chu. “The houses on display blend affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. These talented students are demonstrating to consumers the wide range of energy-saving solutions that are available today to save them money on their energy bills.”
The teams competed in 10 contests during 10 days that measured each house’s performance, livability and affordability, DOE said. The teams performed everyday tasks, including laundry, cooking and washing dishes in measuring the energy efficiency of their houses.
Maryland earned 951.151 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by Purdue with 931.390 points and New Zealand with 919.058 points. Full competition results and details about the individual contests may be found at Solar Decathlon results.
For more information on the systems and design of University of Maryland’s entry, see the Durability + Design e-news stories: U. of Maryland’s ‘WaterShed’ Wins Architecture Honors at Solar Decathlon and Off and Running: ‘Decathlon’ Project Armed with High-Tech Systems.
They Came from the West, and from the East…
Purdue University’s entry INhome, short for “Indiana home,” was designed for the typical Midwestern consumer. The home’s exterior could blend in well in a Midwestern neighborhood, according to the competition’s website.
Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
|The second-place winner, Purdue University’s entry INhome. The exterior mimics a typical Midwestern home. |
The house’s design includes a number of special features, including
• a self-watering biowall with vertically arranged plants;
• interior finishes that contain pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content;
• a multi-process air purification system that removes airborne contaminants.
On the other hand, the New Zealand entry, named the “First Light House,” pays tribute to the fact that New Zealanders are the first to see the sun’s light each day.
The house is a small summer home traditionally called a “bach” house; these cottages pepper New Zealand’s coastline. More on the design can be read at Team from New Zealand Makes Waves with Solar Decathlon Beach House Entry.
Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
| The third-place winner, New Zealand’s entry, “First Light House.”|
All of the collegiate teams that competed in the Solar Decathlon 2011 are listed below.
• Appalachian State University
• Canada (University of Calgary)
• Florida International University
• University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• University of Maryland
• Middlebury College
• New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington)
• Ohio State University
• Parsons NS Stevens (Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology, a team that also includes Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School)
• Purdue University
• The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology
• Team Belgium (Ghent University)
• Team China (Tongji University)
• Team Florida (The University of South Florida, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Florida)
• Team Massachusetts (Massachusetts College of Art and Design and University of Massachusetts at Lowell)
• Team New Jersey (Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology)
• Team New York (City College of New York)
• University of Tennessee
• Tidewater Virginia (Old Dominion University and Hampton University)
The DOE invites entries for the sixth Solar Decathlon, scheduled for fall 2013. Applications are available online for the collegiate teams at www.SolarDecathlon.gov/apply.html.