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Equipped with a 9kW building integrated solar power system that can operate independently in the event a storm shuts down the grid, SURE HOUSE also boasts super-tight insulation for optimum energy efficiency. It’s so efficient, in fact, the house exceeds Passive House standards, according to the design team. Contributing to this efficiency are low-energy appliances and a special heat pump that can utilize DC power from the photovoltaic panels to heat water. All in all, the 1,000 sf dwelling requires 90 percent less energy than a standard home.

Related: Hurricane-resilient SURE HOUSE charges your neighbors’ devices during a blackout

SURE HOUSE is designed to be shared. Should a hurricane shut down utilities, the house is capable of acting like a community base where people can charge their gadgets and stay in touch with the greater world as needed. It’s tough as nails, with integrated, fiber-composite shutters that provide passive solar control and house integrated photovoltaic panels when the weather is nice, and then lock up with a watertight seal when they’re closed, but that doesn’t mean the space has to feel like a doomsday bunker. Instead, it’s beautifully designed with a cozy beach bungalow aesthetic, plenty of natural lighting, and plenty of private and open spaces.

At the end of the Department of Energy’s solar decathlon competition, SURE HOUSE will return to the east coast to act as a community outreach center and as a resource for information. We would love to see projects like this take up greater residence in mainstream housing developments to ensure long-term resilience as sea levels rise and climate change brings stronger, more frequent storms.

+ SURE HOUSE

+ Inhabitat Solar Decathlon Coverage

Images by Mike Chino for Inhabitat and Stevens Institute of Technology