NexusHaus is an affordable, plus-energy, one-story home designed by the students from the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the University of Texas at Austin (UTA) for the 2015 Solar Decathlon Competition. The prototype is made almost entirely from sustainable materials and is equipped with an efficient water-treatment system and rooftop solar panels. The team is currently building and testing the house in Austin, Texas.
This project addresses the lack of affordable housing in Austin, which is experiencing rapid population growth. The students decided to build a structure using cradle-to-cradle design principles, so the home is built almost entirely of renewable and reusable materials, with solar power modules mounted on the flat roof. Solar panels provide enough electricity for lighting, air conditioning, household appliances, and an electric car.
A heat pump is combined with an integrated thermal storage system to cool and heat the water circuit in an economically optimized way. Rainwater is collected in large storage tanks and can be used as drinking water with the help of a filter system. Gray water is used for the washing machine, sink, and shower, while an aquaponic system helps irrigate the food plants.
Most of the materials are pollutant- and toxin-free, and the components can be broken down and recycled. The team used renewable raw wood for the facade, while the bathrooms feature cradle-to-cradle ceramic tiles. NexusHaus is expected to be completed and tested by next summer, after which it will be transported to Irvine, California, where it will compete against other entries at the Solar Decathlon Competition taking place in October.