Solar Home Continues To Inspire Post Decathlon

WaterShed, the winning solar house of the 2011 Solar Decathlon, has finally graduated college and is entering the real world. We’ve followed the University of Maryland’s WaterShed home through its college years, and are proud to see it secure a future with electric service provider Pepco. In this next chapter, WaterShed will move to one of Pepco’s facilities in Maryland where it will act as a “living classroom and laboratory” for visitors to learn about its clean energy and water conservation features.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon competition challenged 20 collegiate teams around the world to design, build, and operate a solar powered house that is not only energy-efficient, but also cost-effective and attractive (recognizing the latter two are just as important for true success).

Solar Decathlon WaterShed Exterior

image via University of Maryland

The University of Maryland team differentiated itself from the pack by thinking not just about conserving energy, but also conserving our other—possibly more—precious resource, water. Inspired by the local ecosystem of Chesepeake Bay, the team designed WaterShed’s structure to harvest storm water, and constructed wetlands to filter and reduce graywater from the dishwasher, washing machine and shower.

After two years of hard work and collaboration from the Maryland’s 200-person Solar Decathlon team, their labor of love will continue to teach both visitors and researchers. Spending two weeks on display at West Potomac Park for the competition, WaterShed has already hosted over 20,000 visitors. And now Pepco has big plans that should allow WaterShed to continue to educate and inspire people to integrate energy and water conservation features into their own homes.

Angeli Duffin is a Midwest transplant currently living in San Francisco, CA. Kicking off her career doing product design and development with Fair Trade artisans around the world, she then moved on to the editorial side, writing for eBay’s Green Team blog and working as a marketing consultant for social and environmentally minded companies