Daylight, fresh air, and greenery fill this self-sufficient solar home that feels much larger than its actual size. Students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology designed this net-zero dwelling, named SILO, short for ‘Smart Innovative Living Oasis.’ Inspired by farmhouse architecture, SILO blends a rustic aesthetic with cutting-edge technology to create a homey and completely automated dwelling that ensures stress-free comfort year-round.



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Home automation is at the heart of SILO. From the HVAC system to lighting, these engineered systems work in tandem to create a comfortable and energy-efficient living space. An energy monitoring system sends feedback to the central control system to improve efficiency and includes the ability to sell excess energy generated by the 8.5-kW rooftop solar array back to the grid. The homeowner can also control all of the home’s systems manually via smartphone or voice commands.

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Related: The Nest home is a solar-powered prefab made from recycled shipping containers

SILO features a flexible open-floor plan that emphasizes views of the outdoors and access to natural light. The light-filled home feels much larger than its actual size thanks to a high-ceiling living area and glazing that wraps both ends of the home. A graywater system feeds into a beautiful water wall, while treated water is reused for irrigation of non-edible landscaping such as the movable green wall. A clay plaster made partly with recycled materials was used as wall paint and boasts air-purifying and humidity-regulating benefits. SILO was designed and built for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 and will return to Missouri to be part of the university’s eco-village after the competition.

+ Solar Decathlon

Images by Mike Chino

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