The 2007 Solar Decathlon has some of
the most advanced technologies available for designing a zero energy
home. Here's some highlights.
The University of Illinois at
A lot of people wonder "how can I get
a home like one of these?" Generally, you can't buy a home like these.
They just don't end up with plans altered from the 800 square foot
Decathlon size limit to the 2000+ square foot size that most people
want. One home, however, that's has had some thought given to this is the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The home in the Decathlon
uses 3 modules. However more modules could be added on. You can
read more about their modular design at
If you want a home similar to one of
these homes, you may want to take a look at the
zeroenergy.com site. Members
of the Cornell team in the 2005 Decathlon went on to start this design
The three modules are visible; each module has it's own photovoltaic
a model showing several modules, with estimated prices
the joint between two modules
the south facing side
The MIT team used a section on the
south facing wall made of panels filled with Aerogel. The panels let
in light, and in the winter, capture and store heat from the sun. The
wall section then gives a comfy radiant heat. In the summer, the wall
would be shaded by something such as an overhang. How far out the
overhang would need to be would be dependant on the location of the
house. In different parts of the country, the sun's angle would be
interior view of the thermal wall
Many of the homes, such as the one from MIT, use evacuated tube
technology for water heating.
Technische Universitat Darmstadt
One of the true world leaders in setting
goals toward a clean, sustainable future in Germany. The home from
Technische Universitat Darmstadt gives a
glimpse of what the future will look like - one in which homes have
use of clean energy generating technologies.
Each of these strips has photovoltaic (PV) cells to make electricity.
A tracking system tilts the louvers to get the best angle toward the
the side wall from a distance
semitransparent photovoltaic modules
more about this school's house
Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
A Prius that has been modified so that
it can be recharged at night was on display.
highlights of the New York Institute of Technology House
Oct. 2007, edited