You never really know what happens, post-competition, to the entrants of the biennial Solar Decathlon. Obviously, the structures are disassembled by each team and removed from their temporary home at the conclusion of the big event. (In the case of the U.S. Solar Decathlon, that temporary home was Washington D.C.’s National Mall). After that, some homes are reassembled and sold at auction to private buyers; some homes return to their respective universities where they are exhibited and used for further research; some homes, like Empowerhouse, go on to become Habitat for Humanity houses while others such as Penn State’s Natural Fusion have been transformed into conference retreats. Ohio State’s 2009 SD entrant, Solar House I, was rebuilt on the grounds of the Columbus Zoo outside of a polar bear exhibit. As I said, you never really know.
And then there’s Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead, a home that placed 12th overall at the 2011 Solar Decathlon, but managed to snag the coveted People’s Choice Award thanks in large part to the infectious spirit of its hirsute, mirrorized hat-clad team. The 833-square-foot home geared towards modern day homesteaders looking to embrace the pioneering spirit of early mountain settlers was a personal favorite of mine. And, as it turns out, an upsized, slightly tweaked version of the original Solar Homestead — so popular with general public — is now available to the general public as the newest net-zero energy offering from acclaimed Asheville, N.C.-based green builder, Deltec Homes.
Deltec’s Solar Homestead will be available to customers nationwide as a panelized building shell. Locally, the home will be available as full-shell turn-key project. With a main two-bedroom, one-bath home that now measures 1,032-square-feet, the Solar Homestead package includes triple-pane windows, a solar thermal hot water heating kit, high levels on insulation, and more. Aside from the main home, the two features that made the original Solar Homestead so, well, homestead-y are also available: additional outbuilding modules (OMs) — a 135-square-foot “Flex OM” that can be used as a third bedroom, office, or studio along with smaller “Storage OMs” — and a solar (or non-solar) canopy which extends over the great porch.
Deltec explains the canopy options:
The wood framing of the solar canopy uses bi-facial solar panels to provide an attractive shading element while also producing electricity for the needs of the home. Bi-facial solar panels can make electricity on both of their sides, taking advantage of solar radiation reflected up from the porch floor as well as the solar radiation overhead to produce more energy.
For those homeowners who don't need as much solar or want to add solar down the road, the canopy can be ordered with a solid tongue and groove finish. The wood framing remains the same, allowing the solid finish to be knocked out later when solar is to be installed. Customers can also mix and match their canopy finish, ordering some sections of the canopy already cut out for solar and some sections with a solid finish as appropriate to their budget for solar and net-zero goals.
I couldn’t find any pricing information on the Solar Homestead on the Deltec website but interested parties should probably start growing those beards, tuning those dulcimers, and saving those pennies …
More info, including floorplans, over at Deltec's Solar Homestead page.
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