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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 9, 2011, 7:07 a.m.
University of Maryland, WaterShed

Photo: DOE

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University of Maryland, WaterShed

After scooping up second place at the 2007 Solar Decathlon, the University of Maryland is back with WaterShed, a remarkable residence that's all about H2O. Sure, the home, inspired by the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is energy-efficient, but its true raison d’etre is a holistic approach to the harvesting and recycling of water. Soggy features of the 900-square-foot structure include a modular constructed wetland that filters and recycles greywater from the shower, dishwasher and clothes washer; a green roof that slows rainwater runoff while providing a thermal barrier for the house; a humidity-absorbing liquid desiccant waterfall; and a split butterfly roof that drains runoff into a water axis at the center of the house. Also featuring a garden, an edible wall and a composting station, the home is geared towards a telecommuting couple ... preferably Aquariuses who enjoy crab chowder.