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Designed and built for the 2015 Solar Decathlon, the GRoW Home was inspired by the growth of solar in New York State and by SolarCity’s decision to build a 1.2 million-square-foot solar factory, one of the largest in the Western hemisphere, in Buffalo. According to the team’s design philosophy, the GRoW home considers four key themes: to “nurture active stewardship, think functional flexibility, live with nature, and recognize energy hierarchy.” The house is wrapped in a tight thermal envelope, structural insulated panels, as well as high-performance sliding glass doors and windows to reduce heating loads in winter.

Related: SolarCity’s new Buffalo plant will create 5,000 jobs in New York

Topped by a folded roof with photovoltaic panels and a solar water heating system, the house is organized on a grid layout and divided into three modules: a 770-square-foot T-shaped living space with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bedroom; a 320-square-foot extended living space and winter greenhouse; and a 1,440-square-foot shaded exterior deck with raised planting beds. The 7-kW 24-Silevo-panel photovoltaic system produces 9MWh per year—nearly twice as much energy as residents will need. Energy-efficient fixtures connected to a smart home monitoring system and a four-zone variable-air-volume air-to-air mechanical system help to further reduce overall energy use.

+ GRoW home

+ Inhabitat Solar Decathlon Coverage

Images via Justina