previous
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Video Series: Install a Rock-Solid Tile Floor
    Video Series: Install a Rock-Solid Tile Floor
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Gallery: Custom Flooring
    Gallery: Custom Flooring
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Solid Deck-Framing Advice
    Solid Deck-Framing Advice
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
next
Pin It

A Watershed Moment

The winner of the 2011 Solar Decathlon offers an educated glimpse at tomorrow's environmentally sensitive, energy-smart homes

Held every other year on the National Mall in Washington D.C., the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams from the United States and other countries to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy efficient, and attractive. In this article, members of the University of Maryland's team describe their 2011 contest-winning house. They designed a net-zero-energy house powered by a photovoltaic array, supplied with hot water by an evacuated-tube solar-thermal system, and surrounded by a wetland that collects water from two inward-sloping roofs and filters gray water from inside. The 876-sq.-ft. house, which beat 18 other entries to take home the top prize, has a 13-in.-thick envelope with R-44 walls, an R-48 roof, and R-33 floors. A sidebar describes the contest's 10 events: affordability, architecture, comfort zone, engineering, communications, appliances, home entertainment, hot water, energy balance, market appeal.

A Watershed Moment

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More