A sea of cheerful, shiny hats glinting from hundreds of tiny heads made The Solar Homestead impossible to ignore. And when curious visitors followed the hats to their source, they found that the Homestead itself seemed larger than the competitors - yet still followed Decathlon V's strict 1,000 sq. ft. maximum size for conditioned space.
Those solar hats absolutely blew the judges away. Sure, visitors could and did phone-scan the codes but the whole story was literally under the hat. Modeled on paper hats press operators used to wear, these unfolded to great promo copy plus refolding instructions. Even competing homes hosted flocks of reflective heads sporting "The Solar Homestead" on one side and "I am part of the solution," on the other.
So, it's little wonder The Solar Homestead took the People's Choice award. But back to The Solar Homestead itself.
This is the real deal, a self-sufficient ensemble that lives large, protected by its Great Porch (a bifacial PV canopy) spanning 60 feet. The 8.2-kW PV system successfully powered the home to net-zero status. Six mobile outbuilding modules (OMs), formed the Great Porch boundaries.
Each prefabricated OM is an individual 8' x 16' trailer with deck, storage and bifacial 1+KW PV canopy. A pickup or SUV can tow one and in fact that's exactly how this home reached Decathlon V. The team showcased potential OM uses from garden shed to outdoor kitchen. OM's could easily pull triple duty expanding outdoor living space and storage while adding solar power to an existing home, all in one tow-home package.
The larger low-maintenance mobile Flex-OM (120-ft2) offers half bath, outdoor shower, PV, solar hot water and outdoor kitchen, supporting a green roof for competition.
Inside, the 833-ft2 two bedroom house features day-lit bath and a versatile living/dining area with HDTV projector and motorized screen. An imposing glass trombe wall yields basic illumination while using phase change materials to store heat during the day for release at night.
Costing into the main house the Flex-OM, 6 smaller OMs, Great Porch, garden walls and other landscape features put The Solar Homestead in 13th place in the Affordability with estimated construction cost of $342,324.86
For more coverage of Solar Decathlon V, click here.