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What's Up Magazine

Innovative Energy Efficient Homes on Display

Sep 21, 2011 11:54PM ● By Anonymous

Photos by Tony Lewis, Jr.

What does it mean to design a clean energy, clean-water building? Students and faculty members from 20 universities from around the world will be competing against each other to see who can create the best houses that will be judged in 10 categories. The teams will be judged on criteria that include the categories of architecture, engineering, comfort, and market appeal.

Displayed on the National Mall at West Potomac Park in Washington D.C. and open to the public September 23rd—October 2nd, the Solar Decathlon, held every other year, provides an opportunity to learn about emerging sustainable technologies. The competing universities have been challenged to design houses that are not only innovative, but attractive and affordable

What’s Up? Media Group visited University of Maryland College Park’s entry, prior to its being transported to the mall for the competition and was impressed, Entitled “ WaterShed”, the building’s construction is inspired by the Chesapeake Bay and includes constructed wetlands that filter storm water for reuse, an optimally sized photovoltaic array to harvest enough energy from the sun to power the house year-round and a liquid desiccant waterfall that provides high-efficiency humidity control in the configuration of an indoor water feature—cutting down the need for air conditioning.

Admittance to the Solar Decathlon is free. Go to their website for a full schedule of all the events. Read more in print about the story behind the construction of the Watershed house in What’s Up? Magazine—Annapolis and Eastern Shore, in an upcoming issue in our Home & Garden section. You can find the What’s Up? magazines on the newsstands and they are also available by print and digital subscription.

Jay Chmilewski a senior in Civil Engineering at University of Maryland College park who worked on the dessicant technology for the indoor waterfall.


University of Maryland, College Park undergraduate and graduate student working on the “WaterShed” House completion.

The WaterShed house includes an edible garden


What’s Up? Media editor Nadja Maril conferring with some of the students who worked on the project. The student on the site of the day of the visit included architecture graduate student Parlin Meyer, Zachary Klipstein, a 2nd year graduate student, and student Scoff Jaden who was working on the wetlands component of the project, Faculty advisor Amy Gardner was the Primary Investigator for the project.


A close-up which shows the living wall of greenery.


Student collecting water from the wetland area.

A front view of the almost completed house.