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A team of students from the University of Maryland is one of only 20 teams worldwide selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sponsored Solar Decathlon 2011. Team Maryland's solar powered house, WaterShed, will be the culmination of an innovative learning program - combining team building, collaboration, experiential learning, age-old wisdom, and new technologies to equip tomorrow's professionals, leaders, and decision makers with the knowledge to address the most critical issue of our time.

WaterShed's Core Principles[edit]

Using the Chesapeake Bay as inspiration[edit]

Natural ecosystems have evolved over millions of years to sustainably harness energy, produce food, and recycle waste. In Maryland, we take inspiration from the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. The Bay is under threat from urban sprawl and inadequate stormwater management practices. WaterShed will bring attention to the threats the Bay faces and will demonstrate how we can live well without harming our environment.

"Cradle-to-cradle" system where waste = food[edit]

WaterShed will illustrate that interconnected systems in a house lead to energy conservation and cost savings. Further, no building, not even a portable home, is an island. WaterShed will create strong connections between the house and its site using a cohesive design integrating form, materials, systems, landscape, and inhabitants.

Going beyond Net Zero[edit]

We wish to mimic nature’s abundance, instead of exploiting or wasting it. Nature is both efficient and bountiful. Wherever possible, WaterShed will produce more energy than it consumes.

Harnessing technology to achieve sustainability[edit]

WaterShed will illustrate an ideal mix between time-trusted best practices and cutting-edge technological solutions for the most efficient performance. It will include traditional strategies—proper building orientation, overhangs, and south-facing glazing—coupled with high-tech photovoltaic panels, solar thermal collectors, and energy recovery systems to create a comfortable, energy-efficient home. An exciting innovation from 2007’s LEAFHouse—the patent-pending liquid desiccant waterfall—will be enhanced for 2011.

WaterShed’s Features[edit]

WaterShed embraces an ecosystem model inspired by nature. WaterShed is a spacious and affordable house featuring:

  • A rooftop photovoltaic array
  • An edible green wall and garden
  • A green roof
  • Innovative, smart technologies that allow residents to control temperature, ventilation, humidity, and light for year-round comfort
  • Building and finish materials that are beautiful, sustainable, cost-effective, and durable

WaterShed and the Future[edit]

Our long term-goal is to integrate environmentally responsible design into the curricula in engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, business, communications, and many other fields. Our team, comprised of students advised by faculty and professional mentors, must address and solve all aspects of this project, including the financing of curriculum development, teaching, community outreach, educational materials, appliances, construction, and transportation to the National Mall. We need YOUR support to make the leap with us from an innovative idea to a tangible reality.

About the Solar Decathlon[edit]

The Solar Decathlon, an international competition held every two years, is entering its fifth round in October 2011. Twenty teams from colleges and universities from around the world will come together on the National Mall in Washington, DC to display the solar homes they have designed and built to more than 300,000 visitors. 2011 will mark the fourth time that the Maryland Team has received the honor to compete in the Decathlon. In 2007, Maryland’s LEAFHouse placed first in the nation and second in the world, won the People’s Choice Award, and received a host of other awards from industry and professional associations.

External Links[edit]