The DOE & the Solar Decathlon are also running their own People’s Choice Award for the first time ever, so you should definitely go check it out and vote! Read on for a look at each of these amazing solar-powered homes:
While other homes in the competition wooed us with fancy features like moving walls, we were impressed to see that Middlebury College’s Self Reliance House really worked on perfecting the basics. The home’s concept focused on sourcing many materials locally, including wood from the College’s own forests and insulation made from sheep’s wool from a local farm. Another feature that we at Inhabitat, being big fans of urban gardening, loved was that the house has plenty of space for residents to grow their own food.
Team New Zealand is showing how things are done south of the equator with their beautiful First Light home, which just won the engineering contest at the 2011 Solar Decathlon! Locally-sourced materials like sheep’s wool insulation are combined with handmade furnishings and smart design to create this breezy “Kiwi Bach” inspired home.
Ohio State’s enCORE house is built around a central mechanical core and features a locally manufactured solar array on the roof. Geared towards a family on a budget, the home is an affordable and space conscious design.
The Southern California-based dynamic duo of Sci_Arc and Caltech have combined their powers to design the out-of-this-world inside-out CHIP house, which was inspired by an astronaut’s suit. A puffy, white, heavily-insulated exterior encapsulates a compact yet flexible interior complete with enough high-tech gadgetry to keep the house running completely off-grid.