When hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the United States in 2012, the high winds and storm surges it brought absolutely devastated many coastal homes. But next time, New York and New Jersey may be better prepared. Specifically created for coastal areas of the two states, SURE HOUSE is a solar-powered home with an open, breezy floor plan, designed to be extra resilient in the face of big storms. The Sure House just took top the top prizes for architecture and communications at the 2015 Solar Decathlon, which places it at the top of the pack for this year's competition - stay tuned as we announce the overall winner tomorrow!
Equipped with a 9kW building integrated solar power system that can operate independently in the event a storm shuts down the grid, SURE HOUSE also boasts super-tight insulation for optimum energy efficiency. It’s so efficient, in fact, the house exceeds Passive House standards, according to the design team. Contributing to this efficiency are low-energy appliances and a special heat pump that can utilize DC power from the photovoltaic panels to heat water. All in all, the 1,000 sf dwelling requires 90 percent less energy than a standard home.
SURE HOUSE is designed to be shared. Should a hurricane shut down utilities, the house is capable of acting like a community base where people can charge their gadgets and stay in touch with the greater world as needed. It’s tough as nails, with integrated, fiber-composite shutters that provide passive solar control and house integrated photovoltaic panels when the weather is nice, and then lock up with a watertight seal when they’re closed, but that doesn’t mean the space has to feel like a doomsday bunker. Instead, it’s beautifully designed with a cozy beach bungalow aesthetic, plenty of natural lighting, and plenty of private and open spaces.
At the end of the Department of Energy’s solar decathlon competition, SURE HOUSE will return to the east coast to act as a community outreach center and as a resource for information. We would love to see projects like this take up greater residence in mainstream housing developments to ensure long-term resilience as sea levels rise and climate change brings stronger, more frequent storms.
Images by Mike Chino for Inhabitat and Stevens Institute of Technology