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Solar Decathlon 2013, solar powered, tiny homes, prefab homes, design competition, green design, smart wall, sustainable design, eco design, clean tech, wheelchair accessible homes, radiant flooring, Team Tidewater Virginia, Canopy House

Two major components of this design set it apart from similar solar decathlon entries this year: the liquid-cooled rooftop PV array and a clever Data Integrating Engineering and Mechanics Wall (DIEM), which is essentially a “smart wall” that collects and displays all of the home’s diagnostics. This is a user-friendly and tactile system that gives occupants total control over their energy and water consumption.

A thermal battery stores excess heat, which radiant flooring can use when temperatures cool down to keep the home warm. The home’s southern face opens to the outdoors with bi-folding doors, ensuring an intimate indoor/outdoor connection. And last of all, and this is the first time we have seen such an emphasis in this collegiate design competition, the Tidewater Virginia team has ensured that their design is not only wheelchair accessible, but well suited for elderly to be able to feel safe over the long term.

+ Canopy House by Tidewater Virginia