The University of Maryland's solar-powered home WaterShed was recently proclaimed winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011. WaterShed not only conserves the water it captures, but also produces resources with that water.
The WaterShed Project by the University of Maryland was inspired by the complex ecosystem of the nearby Chesapeake Bay watershed. By balancing time-trusted best practices and cutting-edge technological solutions, the home achieves incredibly high efficiency when it comes to water and energy consumption.
The two-year building process yielded a home that operates through an interconnected network of natural systems that harness the energy of the sun, water, wind and earth. Designed to harvest 100% of its electrical energy needs from the sun using photovoltaic arrays and a solar thermal array to provide 100% of domestic hot water needs, a modular green roof slows rainwater runoff while simultaneously improving the home's energy efficiency. Rainwater is collected in cisterns filled with wetland plants, while grey water from the shower, lavatory, clothes washer and dishwasher is collected and filtered through constructed wetlands on one side of the home. This water can then be reused to irrigate the landscape without using fresh potable water.
Read More: WaterShed at the University of Maryland