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Solar Decathlon

GROW HOME

Upstate Buffalo, New York, isn’t typically associated with gardens. More people probably envision Buffalo covered in the lake-effect snow of Lake Erie than in greenery. But the Solar Decathlon 2015 team from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY) team may change that.

Their Garden, Relax, or Work (GRoW) Home includes the GRoWlarium, a built-in 338-square-foot greenhouse where inhabitants can grow crops year-round. As the seasons change, a resident can open up the GRoWlarium or seal it off from the rest of the house. The concept works in concert with the rest of GRoW Home, helping inhabitants avoid high costs for farming and shipping produce while enjoying a dynamic, flexible living space. Learn more. 

Innovators

People from many nations arrive in New York City to pursue the American Dream. The New York City College of Technology team embodies this spirit in Solar Decathlon 2015, called DURA—an acronym for Diverse, Urban, Resilient, and Adaptable.

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Sacramento is nicknamed the City of Trees, so it made sense for the California State University, Sacramento, team to showcase nature in its Solar Decathlon 2015 project. The team’s Reflect Home does just that by embracing the city’s sense of expansive greenery.

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Western New York may not be known as a hotbed of solar energy innovation just yet, but the ultra-efficient Alf House could soon change that.

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The aroma of Italian cooking will waft from STILE, the West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata entry in the 2015 Solar Decathlon, during team dinners that capture the spirit of this cross-cultural partnership.

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With the 2015 Solar Decathlon taking place in Irvine, California, Team Orange County -- made up of the University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College -- was looking for a way to represent its home territory. They found their inspiration in nature: the golden poppy, California’s state flower.

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Decathletes from the University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen in Germany have drawn on shared interests to create NexusHaus, an ultra-efficient solar house that aims to reduce water and energy demand even as housing density increases.

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Inspired by the devastation inflicted on the East Coast by superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Stevens Institute of Technology team designed its Solar Decathlon 2015 project, SURE HOUSE, to withstand future storms while fighting climate change with energy-saving innovations.

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It’s not easy to get 50 people to work together, meet deadlines, and exchange ideas on a long-term project. Sometimes, it feels like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. The Clemson University team seems to have taken that analogy to heart with their 2015 Solar Decathlon entry, dubbed “Indigo Pine."

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Tornadoes are common in Missouri. But the twister that killed 161 people and caused billions of dollars in damage in Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011 provided special motivation for the Crowder College and Drury University team’s Solar Decathlon 2015 project. The team hopes the design principles in its ShelteR3 house could help lessen the damage of future storms in a state that averages 27 tornadoes yearly.

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The University of California, Davis, has strong pedigrees in both sustainable projects and agricultural research. So even though 2015 marks the school’s first, the team has drawn from a tradition of innovation and pride in its identity to create its entry “Aggie Sol.”

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INhouse, the 2015 Solar Decathlon project from the California Polytechnic State University team, was designed to incorporate to the university’s spectacular surroundings in San Luis Obispo near the Pacific Ocean.

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The Missouri University of Science and Technology returns for its sixth Solar Decathlon with its team’s 2015 entry, the Nest Home, designed to serve a family “from a full nest to an empty nest.”

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A first-time Solar Decathlon entrant in 2015, the Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana team is seeking a blend in its Efficient, Affordable, Solar, Innovation--or EASI--House.

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