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Appalachian’s award-winning Solar Homestead goes to market

BOONE—An award-winning entry in the international U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 competition will soon be available for purchase through an agreement between Appalachian State University and Asheville-based Deltec Homes, leading builder of round, high-wind resistant homes.

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Deltec will market and manufacture The Solar Homestead, a net-zero energy home designed by students and professors at Appalachian State University and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C.

Deltec was a lead contributor to Appalachian’s Solar Homestead project.

Through the agreement with Appalachian, Deltec Homes will pay royalties that support the Department of Technology and Environmental Design’s next large-scale, sustainable design-build project and other research and creative activities at the university.

Steve Linton, President of Deltec Homes, said, “The collaboration between Appalachian and Deltec Homes has been truly inspiring. We have all pushed our limits, gained knowledge, and developed a relationship that provides in-depth experience for the students and a design that has a profound impact on the future of homebuilding—a home that produces as much energy as it consumes.”

“This is a great example of our department working with local industry to bring sustainable solutions to the people of North Carolina and beyond,” said Dr. Jamie Russell, assistant professor of building science in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design. “It is a great step forward, bringing energy efficient housing to a large consumer base.”

The design was modified for the commercial market by Chad Everhart, AIA, and an associate professor and director of the building science program in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design. “The 2011 Solar Decathlon entry was not only a prototype but an exhibition house and had features that were required based on the competition’s rules,” he said. “The revised design still feels and looks the same, but is targeted for a broader audience. It is a house people can grow into and retrofit later.”

While the original Solar Homestead was constructed in modules that were transported to the National Mall and installed for the competition, the updated homestead incorporates a panelized building system that will be constructed at Deltec’s facility, then shipped to the job site for assembly.

The modified design maintains the homestead’s grand porch and can be configured for two bedrooms and one bath, or enlarged through the purchase of outbuilding modules that can serve as additional bedrooms, or office space or living space. The design also has options that can be added by the purchaser, such as additional solar panels, and a solar hot water kit and fresh air exchange system.

“This licensing agreement validates the work of the students and faculty that went into the Solar Homestead project,” Russell said. “We won the 2011 Solar Decathlon People’s Choice award and that was not a fluke. The fact that Deltec has chosen to add The Solar Homestead to their portfolio of designs reflects that and proves the value of the students’ and faculty members’ work.”

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