The students at West Virginia University wanted to create a home that not only reflected the culture of the Appalachian people, but one that was also environmentally friendly. Their PEAK (Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge) Solar House certainly meets these goals. Think of a country cabin combined with state-of-the-art green building strategies and you have the right idea. The house is an entrant in the 2013 Solar Decathlon and it strikes the perfect balance between green living and cultural preservation.
From the outside WVU’s PEAK house looks like a rustic cabin with a log cabin exterior. But even though the exterior appears to be made out of stacked logs, the floors, walls and ceiling are actually made out of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). The wall is then finished with a half-log exterior to pay homage to the Appalachian tradition.
Inside, a smart kitchen saves energy while each room has its own climate control to avoid waste by not heating and cooling rooms that are not in use. In the center of the home is a utility room that houses all of the systems, server and the solar-powered hot water tanks that keep the home humming along.
Tall windows and user spaces on the exterior blur the line between the outdoors and the indoors and the rustic design reflects the natural surroundings of the area. The West Virginia team hopes that the home will combine affordability with sustainable living for the “modern Appalachian family,” honoring the lifestyle of the residents while recognizing the need for a greener lifestyle.