For the past seven years, 20 teams of students have competed in the Solar Decathlon. Each team must design and build an efficient solar-powered house that’s also attractive and affordable. They are scored and judged on the following:
This year, a team of students from Steven’s Institute of Technology in New Jersey took home the top prize.
Sure House/Facebook The home they designed and built—dubbed “Sure House” (sustainable resilience)—is a New Jersey shore house, according to Vox. It is meant to hold its own against hurricanes (special shutters protect it from wind and debris). Sure House is “slightly elevated and designed to weather up to 5 feet of flooding—the bottom portion of the building envelope is completely sealed and waterproof.” Vox reports that the home is heavily insulated with mineral wool material, a material that “dries well and resists mold in humid climates.” It is also sealed so tightly that there’s hardly any air passing back and forth through the inside and outside of the home. But that doesn’t mean it’s stuffy inside. Sure House gets fresh air through an “energy recovery ventilator.” The house also comes equipped with energy-efficient appliances. Having such appliances means that the home uses roughly “90 percent less energy than the average New Jersey house.” Solar panels are used for what little energy is needed.
Sure House is 1,000 square feet and consists of a kitchen/living room, a bathroom and two bedrooms.
To learn more about Sure House, visit the Sure House website.