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The 2011 Solar Decathlon is heating up as 20 teams of students from around the world construct stunning, energy-efficient homes at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. The competition officially opens on September 23rd, but we’re excited to bring you a first look at each of this year’s incredible solar powered homes – hit the jump to check out the state of the art in green building!
The perFORM[D] House by Florida International University is an open design that responds to its environment and its inhabitants. Like Paul Rudolph’s Cocoon House, it has operable louvers that can be raised or lowered to provide privacy, shade and protection from the elements.
Hawaii’s model home, which unfortunately was withdrawn, was designed to meet the needs of middle-income buyers in a tropical climate. Hale Pilihonua features a design based on louvers and an integrated aquaponics system.
Re_home, by the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, is an easily transported home that is perfect for disaster relief conditions. The eco-friendly and comfortable mobile home will offer flexible living spaces for a family who has lost their home due to a natural disaster.
The Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem was the inspiration for the University of Maryland’s WaterShed house. Featuring a split butterfly roof, the house focuses on water by recycling, conserving and managing storm runoff.
The sturdy Self-Reliance house is a 2 bedroom gabled home with a living green wall in the kitchen. Designed by Middlebury College, it focuses on communal areas for family bonding.
The traditional Kiwi vacation home has been given the eco treatment in Victoria University of Wellington’s entry. First Light celebrates New Zealand’s morning light – which touches the country before any other. A triple-glazed skylight illuminates the home’s interior with the first light of day.
Team Canada’s TRTL design is based on the mound shape of Southern Alberta’s Native peoples’ homes. TRTL stands for “Technological Residence, Traditional Living”, and the home uses a curved solar panel roof to power its inner technologies such as an air to water heat pump and hot water production.
Ohio State’s enCORE is a family friendly energy-efficient solution. The 930 square foot home blends in with the average Ohio neighborhood while utilizing solar power, rain filtration and energy efficiency measures to save residents money.
Parsons the New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology partnered with Habitat for Humanity for their Solar Decathlon entry. Empowerhouse is a one bedroom, super energy-efficient home that combines residential needs with renewable energy, consuming 90% less energy for heating and cooling than typical homes.
INhome was designed with the Midwesterner in mind, offering sustainable living without sacrificing comfort. The Purdue-designed home has a self-watering green wall, an air purification system, and it conserves warm and cool air.
The geometric CHIP home by the Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology certainly looks like a house of the future. The home is encapsulated in a puffy layer of “outsulation,” and its energy use can be controlled by a custom iPad application.
Team Belgium’s E-Cube is an ultra-efficient home that can be assembled in just a few days. The home is based on modularity, affordability, flexibility and efficiency – it plays up a minimal design in exchange for maximum space and energy efficiency.
China’s Tongji University utilizes cast-off shipping containers to create the energy-efficient Y Container home. Shipping containers are joined together to form the house, which is geared toward young couples on a budget.
Team Florida’s Flex House opens and closes seasonally, using passive cooling in mild winter, and shutting to keep sweltering heat out in the summer. Cypress louvers provide shade and style in the hot Florida sun.
4D Home by Team Massachusetts fuses energy-efficient technology and passive strategies without compromising simplicity. The two bedroom home is a flexible shared space, thanks to two sliding partition walls.
The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology have joined forces to create the ENJOY House, which features an inverted-hip roof that is calibrated for optimal solar energy and rainwater collection.
The Solar Roofpod is designed to reclaim underused urban rooftop areas for green living city living. Designed by Team New York, it caps off an existing mid-rise building with an eco penthouse.
Living Light’s UT Solar Decathlon House is a loft-like, glass-enclosed home with alternating translucent and transparent panes and horizontal blinds that flood the home with light while providing privacy. Designed by the University of Tennessee, the home features a high-tech controllable lighting and blinds system.
Unit 6 Unplugged was designed to integrate into the historic city of Norfolk, Virginia. The artsy homes of Old Dominion University and Hampton University inspired Team Tidewater Virginia to create a solar home with a beautiful porch and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Team Inhabitat will on the scene in Washington, D.C. for the official launch of this year’s solar decathlon – stay tuned as we bring you breaking coverage and exclusive photos starting September 23rd!
+ 2011 Solar Decathlon
+ Solar Decathlon Coverage on Inhabitat