Students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology refurbished three disused shipping containers to build a house that proves zero-net homes can be affordable and reliable. The Nest Home was inspired by the shape of a bird's nest, and features reclaimed materials and several sustainable systems such as grey water reuse, efficient lighting, a hydroponic garden and solar panels that provide enough energy to power the house and an electric vehicle. The project was designed for this year's Solar Decathlon, which challenges students to design and build solar-powered houses that are cost-effective and energy-efficient.
The Nest Home was designed to accommodate a growing family. It offers both private and common spaces that can be easily expanded by adding more containers to the existing ones. Repurposed materials were used throughout the house, from wood siding made from reclaimed shipping pallets to carpeting made from reprocessed fishing nets and insulation made from recycled denim batting.
An array of 24 photovoltaic panels powers the house and an electric vehicle, with each panel containing a micro-inverter that transforms direct current to alternating current without the need for a centralized inverter. Automated windows support the HVAC system and help maintain optimal indoor temperatures. The lighting is also automated in order to save energy and detect when the house is empty. Residents can use three hydroponic gardens to produce fresh vegetables and herbs. Thanks to the greywater reclamation system that provides irrigation for the gardens and the bathroom, the house reduces its water consumption by up to 25 percent.