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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 9, 2011, 7:07 a.m.
Tongji University, Y Container

Photo: DOE

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Tongji University, Y Container

We love a good shipping container home, which is why Y Container, Team China's eye-catching entry, is an early favorite (shhh). Built from six recycled shipping containers, the Y-Shaped, solar-powered abode consists of three modular zones (living room, bedroom and kitchen/bathroom) that meet in a central multifunction area. Low-cost (around $250,000), high-performance and easy to transport, the expandable dwelling was designed with a young couple in Shanghai in mind ... a couple who would otherwise not be able to afford independent housing. In addition to the one-bedroom home's more obvious eco-friendly attributes, Y-Container boasts a natural ventilation tunnel, vacuum insulated panels, solar thermal collectors, a rainwater catchment system and one heck of a deck.