The name “enCORE” refers to their house’s central core, which is what the foundation that the other components are layered around. Because all of the mechanical systems of the home are condensed into this central location, the other areas are left free for usable space. The areas have been divvied up to maximize functionality, and the 900 square foot home features 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a deck, an office and even a den. These flexible rooms surround the home’s mechanical core and are set up in a way that maximizes natural light and ventilation.
Ohio State’s enCORE home already has a small footprint, but its powerful solar-panel clad roofalso greatly reduces the amount of electricity it needs to suck from the power grid. The array, which actually looks quite aesthetically pleasing on top of the home, consists of 108 angled thin-film First Solar panels and a flat plate collector. With an output of 8 kW, the array is actually on the lower end of the spectrum compared to some of the other homes we’ve written up already, but we do have to give them credit for being manufactured locally in Toledo, Ohio.
In addition to the impressive solar array, the house also uses both passive and active strategies like stack ventilation and a heat pump water heater to lower its energy and resource usage even further. The house has low-U value windows that are placed strategically amidst the prefab polycarbonate wall system in order to draw sunlight into the home, cutting down on the need for artificial lighting – something that will save a family living in the enCORE home more money even after they purchase it. The enCORE’s roof is also sloped to collect rainwater, which can then be used to water plants or for plumbing.
Think the enCORE house deserves to win? Give it your vote here!
+ Ohio State University enCORE House
+ Inhabitat’s Coverage of the 2011 Solar Decathlon