The pioneers who first settled in the Appalachian Mountains were the inspiration for Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead. The net zero home evokes the wooden cabins of the early homesteaders, but with a modern and energy efficient twist. Boasting a network of multiple buildings, the Solar Homestead allows residents to enjoy the land without harming it.
The Solar Homestead is comprised of a main area, with six outbuilding modules that fit together to create a harmonious living space. They meet to form the Great Porch, a centrally focused outdoor living space that allows residents to be outside with the protection of a 8.2 kW trellis of bifacial solar cells which filters light through, and protects from rain. Forty-two bifacial photovoltaic panels supply the home with clean solar energy, while also functioning as a terrace roof. The porch mimics the porches of early settlers.
The outbuilding modules were inspired by three sided lean-to buildings. They fit together to form sheltered areas that are adaptable. A half-bath, outdoor shower and outdoor kitchen can be flexibly transitioned into an office, guest bedroom or independent cabin space that can be taken offsite for a retreat. Inside, two bedrooms comfortably occupy the main space, as well as a day-lit bathroom and flexible living/dining area.
A solar thermal domestic hot water system heats water and stores it compactly. A Trombe wall stores heat during the day and slowly emits it at night, heating the Homestead.
The Solar Homestead was designed for the climate of the Asheville, North Carolina artistic community. The home provides value for its long lasting sustainable materials, with renewable energy technology that cuts utility costs. The porch and design evokes the modernized version of the settler lifestyle, with focus on enjoying the great outdoors.