Solar Decathlon Team Tidewater Virginia designed a tidy little solar-powered dwelling that incorporates a wide array of green building strategies. The Canopy House features a liquid cooled rooftop photovoltaic array that considerably reduces the home's overall heating load, in addition to a variety of other creative interventions that prioritize safety, energy efficiency and maximum comfort.
Two major components of this design set it apart from similar solar decathlon entries this year: the liquid-cooled rooftop PV array and a clever Data Integrating Engineering and Mechanics Wall (DIEM), which is essentially a “smart wall” that collects and displays all of the home’s diagnostics. This is a user-friendly and tactile system that gives occupants total control over their energy and water consumption.
A thermal battery stores excess heat, which radiant flooring can use when temperatures cool down to keep the home warm. The home’s southern face opens to the outdoors with bi-folding doors, ensuring an intimate indoor/outdoor connection. And last of all, and this is the first time we have seen such an emphasis in this collegiate design competition, the Tidewater Virginia team has ensured that their design is not only wheelchair accessible, but well suited for elderly to be able to feel safe over the long term.