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For the past year, students have been designing and innovating to create the solar home of the future. Over the past few weeks, those 17 teams have been competing in 10 areas, including market appeal, affordability, architecture and energy balance. The overall prize is awarded to the home that best embodies all of these aspects. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York took second place, followed by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in third place.

What really made the SURE HOUSE stand out was its ultra-efficient design, coupled with a serious cost-effectiveness. The home exceeds Passive House standards and requires 90-percent less energy than your average home. Fiber composite shutters allow the house to be sealed up tight in an emergency, with plenty of solar power to keep things running.

Related: Solar-powered SURE HOUSE is ready for the next Hurricane Sandy

Now that the competition is over, SURE HOUSE will be dismantled and moved to the East Coast to act as a community education center. The team was also awarded the top prizes for architecture and communications.

The Solar Decathlon is hosted by the US Department of Energy and gives students from around the world the chance to showcase their talents by designing a solar-powered home that represents the future of sustainability. The winning home is the one the best captures the perfect mixture of efficiency, affordability and innovative design. This year’s theme was “Time to shine,” highlighting not only the student’s moment in the spotlight, but the importance of solar light for the future of green energy.

+ SURE HOUSE

+ Inhabitat Solar Decathlon Coverage