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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 9, 2011, 7:07 a.m.
The Ohio State University, enCORE

Photo: DOE

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Ohio State University, enCORE

We like the idea behind — and the looks of — this one: Geared for eventual placement in one of Columbus, Ohio's lower-income neighborhoods where it can help "save money for the residents while promoting sustainable practices in the community," enCORE, Ohio State University's second Solar Decathlon home packs maximum efficiency into a relatively small footprint of 930 square feet. Taking its name from the heart of this comfortable two-bedroom home, a central core containing mechanical and plumbing systems, enCORE boasts numerous eco-friendly features including triple-glazed windows, a super-insulated building envelope providing insulation value double that of conventional homes, a rainwater-filtering bioremediation system, a greywater recycling system, a solar thermal hot air system, ample natural daylighting and last but not least, a mighty 8kW photovoltaic array consisting of solar panels locally produced in Toledo, Ohio.