A team of students from Penn State recently unveiled their Natural Fusion residence, which has been selected as one of 20 ultra-efficient homes set to make an appearance at this year’s Solar Decathlon. The elegant structure is wrapped in living walls and utilizes a host of energy-efficient features including a green roof lined with photovoltaic panels and large windows that bathe the interiors in daylight.
Making the Solar Decathlon shortlist is no small undertaking, but it isn’t the first time the Penn State team has been selected – their first attempt in 2007 earned them 4th place honors. Fully embodying it’s namesake, the Natural Fusion house blurs the lines between inside and outside, nature and structure.
Living walls are present throughout the house’s exterior and interior, where a leafy green divider provides a fresh backdrop for the kitchen and bathroom. A green roof system provides natural cover while also generating electricity through a system of Green Roof Integrated PhotoVoltaics (GRIPVs). On the ground level, Natural Fusion has two landscaped gardens – a sense garden for meditative purposes and a bio-intensive vegetable garden ripe for growing fresh vegetables and herbs.
Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outdoors in and provide the interior spaces with plenty of natural daylight and ventilation. Throughout the home’s interior the finishes have been carefully chosen to help capture and move the light through the spaces due to their reflective surfaces.
With little more than a week left until the opening ceremony of this year’s Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, we wish each of the 20 teams the best of luck.
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