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UMD Solar Decathlon team unveils 'WaterShed'
Date:4/8/2011

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland Solar Decathlon Team has unveiled its entry in the U.S. Department of Energy competition - a high-tech structure they call WaterShed, because it integrates a unique array of sustainable features designed to protect and make the most of the Chesapeake Bay.

The unveiling ceremony brought together officials and the dozens of students, faculty and mentors that make up the Maryland team, one of only 20 finalists in the international competition. Each team designs and builds a house that runs on solar power. The final Solar Decathlon 2011 competition will take place in Washington, D.C. next October.

"This will be a lot more than a great house - think of it as a mini-ecosystem," said WaterShed's principal investigator, University of Maryland Associate Professor of Architecture Amy Gardner. "We're building it to be a desirable and significant expression of sustainability. Our goal is to capture sun, wind, rain, as well as the wastes from the house, and make the very most of them - all as part of a great place to live."

The power of the design comes from its twin focus on efficient, renewable energy and water quality and conservation.

"It's been said that the planet will run out of water before it runs out of oil," Gardner added. "Linking these twin concerns will help design communities that make sense environmentally, economically, aesthetically."

Among WaterShed's principal design features:

  • Constructed wetlands that filter storm water and "greywater"
  • Green roof to retain rainwater and promote efficient cooling
  • Optimally sized photovoltaic array to harvest enough energy from the sun to power WaterShed year-round
  • Edible landscapes that support community-based agriculture
  • Interior waterfall (with liquid desiccant) to provide high-efficiency humidity control
  • Efficient, cost-effective, durable, time-tested structural system


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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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