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Middlebury College’s Self-Reliance Solar Decathlon House Wins Communications Contest!
Posted By Jessica Dailey On September 30, 2011 @ 5:00 pm In Architecture,carousel showcase,Features,Solar Decathlon | No Comments
The familiar shape of Middlebury’s home  was inspired by New England farmhouses that are ubiquitous throughout the school’s home state of Vermont. The gable shape looks decidedly traditional, but the techniques and technologies make Self-Reliance a very modern home. Given Vermont’s harsh winters, Self-Reliance  is built to respond to the environment, with a significant amount of glazing on the south facing- surfaces to maximize solar heat gain. The walls are 11 inches thick, and insulated with cellulose made from 80 percent recycled newspaper. Sheep’s wool from a farmer just down the road from the college was used as additional insulation around the windows.
The 6.75kW rooftop mounted solar array consists of 30 SunPower 225 solar panels  that will produce all of the home’s energy. Annually in Vermont, the array will produce about 7930 KWh of AC energy, approximately 1550 KWh that the house’s projected need. Next to the panels is a solar thermal system consisting of two hot water collectors, which will assist the house’s heat pump, helping to heat the water by as much as 50 percent.
But Self-Reliance’s accolades go much further than a powerful solar array. “This competition makes sustainability about just energy,” said team member Addison Godine. “But it’s a lot more than that.” The Middlebury team  took pains to keep the carbon footprint of Self-Reliance  as small as possible, thus their reason for using mostly local materials.
The woods  — sugar maple, spruce, and white oak — were sustainably harvested from Middlebury College -owned forests, and the slate  used in the kitchen came from Vermont Structural Slate , located in the southern part of the state. All of the finishes are made with natural materials found close to Middlebury  as well. Linseed oil from the flax plant, a crop commercially harvest in the Northeast, makes up the main ingredient in the vertical wood finishes, natural hard waxes coat the flooring, and paint made from eggshells covers the interior walls.
Team also made sure that the home’s inhabitants would be able to live as sustainably as possible, building in ample space to grow food. The kitchen has a large greenhouse wall  in the south-facing window that will provide produce year round, and planters line the outside deck, wrapping all the way around the house, allowing for an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the warmer months.
After the Solar Decathlon  is over, Self-Reliance  will be shipped back to Middlebury College , where it will a residence for four lucky students each year. You can vote for the house here , and you can follow the team’s progress here .
Article printed from Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building: http://inhabitat.com
URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/middlebury-colleges-self-reliance-is-a-solar-decathlon-house-built-with-locally-sourced-materials/
URLs in this post:
 Middlebury College: http://www.middlebury.edu/#story289681
 Self-Reliance: http://solardecathlon.middlebury.edu/
 Solar Decathlon: http://inhabitat.com/solar-decathlon
 communications contest: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/blog/archives/1878
 locavore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locavores
 Middlebury: http://www.middlebury.edu/#story289695
 wood: http://solardecathlon.middlebury.edu/design.php?page=materials#local_woods
 Self-Reliance: http://solardecathlon.middlebury.edu/index.php
 grow their own food: http://solardecathlon.middlebury.edu/design.php?page=architecture#greenhouse
 nabbing solid scores: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/scores_teams_middlebury.html
 Architecture: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/scores_contests_architecture.html
 : http://inhabitat.com/middlebury-colleges-self-reliance-is-a-solar-decathlon-house-built-with-locally-sourced-materials/solar-decathlon-vermont-middlebury-lead/?extend=1
 SunPower 225 solar panels: http://us.sunpowercorp.com/homes/products-services/solar-panels/
 Middlebury team: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/team_middlebury.html
 slate: http://solardecathlon.middlebury.edu/blog/?p=1668
 Vermont Structural Slate: http://www.vermontstructuralslate.com/
 Solar Decathlon: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/index.html
 here: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/poll/pca/pca_register.php
 + Inhabitat’s Coverage of the 2011 Solar Decathlon: http://inhabitat.com/tag/2011-solar-decathlon/
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