Solar Decathlon 2011: University of Maryland buckles up with ‘Watershed’

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With the Solar Decathlon Competition just round the corner, students from University of Maryland have designed a sustainable housing structure tagged WaterShed ready for the grand entrance. The eco friendly structure is inspired by Chesapeake Bay which stands strong as the largest estuary in United States. WaterShed is designed in a fashion to show “how to live in harmony with the complex eco system of the largest estuary in the United States”, says Wallace Loh, the President of University of Maryland.

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The housing structure has been designed as two blocks conjoined together by a central bathroom. The presence of solar array on roof and rain water conservation system are like the key characteristics of any sustainable housing structure. However, what makes WaterShed stand apart is that these characteristics have been incorporated in such a way that the amount of sunlight absorbed by the solar array roof can run the structure for the whole year. Also, the green roof that allows for rain water conservation confirms the cooling effect by retaining the water. Additionally, the water is used for a small waterfall incorporated within the design which serves the purpose of humidity control. For the same purpose, the structure bears a butterfly roof.

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WaterShed would reach the stage of completion sometime soon and it would then be segregated and packed to be transported to Washington DC for the competition. Watershed marks the fourth entry to the contest in the name of University of Maryland.

The Solar Decathlon competition is being organized by US Department of Energy and is scheduled from September 23 to October 2, 2011 in National Mall’s West Potomac Park,Washington D.C. The competition allows 20 college teams to participate while allowing them an opportunity to design a structure which would feature eco friendly, energy efficient, cost efficient and incredible designing. Where architecture is one category contested for in the competition, the others include market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability and many more.

Via: Gizmag

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