WaterShed _ Solar Decathlon 2011

Led by CUSP, a team of University of Maryland students, faculty, and mentors has earned one of 20 coveted spots in the elite international U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Competition.

This is the fourth time the Terps have made it to the finals in the competition to build a house that is fully and creatively powered by solar energy. Nearly 300 students from architecture, engineering, environmental science and technology, plant sciences, landscape architecture, and other disciplines will participate in the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

The 2011 house design, WaterShed, begins where LEAFHouse left off. The goal for WaterShed is to produce an ecosystem in which efficiency comes from the interconnectedness of building, site, and the people who inhabit them. WaterShed strives to create a mini-ecosystem that efficiently captures and fully utilizes the energy of sun, wind, and rain, as well as household "wastes" that retain valuable energy and nutritional resources. The house is formed by two rectangular units capped by a butterfly roof, which is well-suited to capturing and using sunlight and rainwater. The spacious and affordable house features:

  • A rooftop photovoltaic array
  • A green wall and edible garden
  • 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.

A series of Decathlon-related courses offered across the university, beginning in Fall 2009 and continuing through Fall 2011, form the base structure for UM students to get involved. Courses are offered in Architecture, Engineering, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communications, and Bioengineering, and students can also volunteer to help on an extracurricular basis.

The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and attractive. The houses will be transported to Washington, D.C. for public display on the National Mall in October 2011. The competition's top prize will go to the team that best balances cost-effectiveness, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.



Spring 2011 WaterShed interdisciplinary design workshop

Ecosystem-inspired design

WaterShed conceptual diagrams

WaterShed perspective