Gallery: 7 Amazing Sun-Powered Homes in the 2011 Solar Decathlon!

We're not psychic, but we know good design when we see it - and this year's Solar Decathlon houses have it in spades. From super efficient solar energy systems, to high-tech whole-house monitoring, rainwater collection, vegetable gardens and beautiful architecture, we're amazed the innovation at work in this year's entries. Although we're excited to see all 20 of the Solar Decathlon houses starting today in DC, we've got our eyes on several shining contenders - read on for a first look at our top 7 teams to watch this next week as the competition unfolds!

Team Canada – TRTL House

The TRTL, which stands for “Technological Residence, Traditional Living”, is a teepee inspired home designed by Team Canada specifically for the Native Peoples of southern Alberta. An impressive arched solar roof is paired with modular design and construction and a house layout designed for large family gatherings.

Why we like it: The TRTL house is more than just energy-efficient design – it could provide quality housing solutions for people on reservations.

Florida International University – perFORM[D]ance House

Florida International University’s perFORM[D]ance home is a classic beach bungalow that features passive solar design, natural ventilation and a hurricane resistant design. Retractable glazing and operable louvers provide low-tech solutions with a high impact design.

Why we like it: The perFORM[D]ance house is symmetrical pleasing with a modernistic style we think could become really popular – plus they get extra points for a disaster resistance.

Team Maryland – WaterShed House

The bright minds at the University of Maryland created the WaterShed, an impressive one bedroom home that goes beyond net zero energy. Inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, water is at the heart of the home, but it also relies on the sun, wind and other interconnected systems for energy efficiency in hopes of giving back to the surrounding ecosystem. The walls even feature edible plants!

Why we like it: The WaterShed fully integrates solar energy and efficient water management to create a home that is just as green as it is gorgeous.


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  1. oswaldo lópez September 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Very interesant houses.I like your blog.

  2. ultimateair September 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

    UltimateAir was proud to provide a RecoupAerator air filtration/ventilation system for Maryland’s and Tennessee’s submission. Great stuff all around.

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