Lifestyle

A Texas Modular Home Powered Only by Sunshine & Rainwater

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Each year, a Solar Decathlon is held by the U.S. Department of Energy which is a collegiate competition designed to challenge student teams with 10 contests that test efforts to plan and construct a full-sized, solar-powered house. Those that blend energy and water efficiency, as well as energy production and innovation in the best possible mix while still maintaining market potential are named the winners.

A Texas Modular Home Powered Only by Sunshine & Rainwater

Photo: Facebook/NexusHaus UT TUM Solar Decathlon

In 2015, a competing team from the University of Texas partnered with Germany’s Technische Universitaet Muenchen to devise a plan which would address Austin’s mushrooming population issues as well as its current lack of affordable housing. The UT architectural students worked with the German students to develop NexusHaus – a single-story home, 850 square feet in area, complete with energy-efficient technology and built using renewable and reusable materials. Through a crowdfunding campaign, they raised more than $21,000 to complete the project, which featured solar panels on its flat roof to electrify the home as well as charge an automobile. And following the home’s participation in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon that year, it was established as a granny flat or tiny home in East Austin.

A Texas Modular Home Powered Only by Sunshine & Rainwater

Photo: Facebook/NexusHaus UT TUM Solar Decathlon

The University of Texas team together with their German counterparts harnessed the power of the sun as well as used the collection of rainwater to create their fully functional home, built to suit today’s modern requirements. And by combining these technologies and making their home self-sustaining (manageable off-grid), they also met a housing need for parts of the U.S. that have ample sunlight and minimal rainfall. It was net zero in terms of water and energy consumption and now serves as an inspiration in home innovation and construction.

References:

Austin Chronicle

Solar Decathlon

Architect Magazine