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Maryland “Watershed” Wins 2011 Solar Decathlon

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The Department of Energy’s Biennial competition for the best solar powered home came to a close announcing The University of Maryland as its winner. All of the houses made by students from colleges around the globe were wonderfully innovative, extremely stylish, and I’d certainly take any of them! That being said, Maryland beat out the competition with high scores in each of the ten contests:

  • Engineering
  • Energy Balance
  • Comfort Zone
  • Hot Water
  • Market Appeal
  • Affordability
  • Home Entertainment
  • Architecture
  • Appliances
  • Communications

Maryland out shined the other homes by not only integrating solar, but also using water more creatively and efficiently.  “We’re really excited that our message and our mission goes beyond solar, but our story is also about water and how we can capture that resource and cycle it through our house.” explained Allyson Wilson of the Maryland team.

Features include a green roof, a wetland that runs through the home to filter the grey water, and an indoor waterfall that acts as a dehumidifier.  Of course now I am dreaming of how to include some of these fabulous ideas into my future tiny home.

Congratulations to the University of Maryland and all of the teams that went to Washington with their homes. I’ll be looking forward to the 2013 solar decathlon.


About April

Hi! My name is April, I live in Los Angeles, California where I am pursuing an acting career and a B.S. online through the University of Wisconsin. A member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, I have an agent who sends me out on auditions for television, film and commercials. I have been lucky enough to guest star on Disney, and even to have played a drug addict on A&E. More recently I started a small production company making web series and short films for fun. I just finished my first feature length screenplay, and am beginning work on another. When I was younger I expected to one day make my living solely in the entertainment Industry, however this is proving difficult. There is a lot of competition for fewer and fewer jobs. DVR's, online streaming, reality television, the writer's strike of 2006 and the bad economy have all played a part in the downturn of production. Meanwhile, living in Los Angeles is expensive, and it is difficult to make a living without at least a bachelors degree. It has become clear to me, that in order to continue to pursue my creative goals, I am going to have to focus on a more sustainable lifestyle. A few years ago, I stumbled upon the tiny house movement. Everything about it made sense to me, smaller living for affordability, giving one the time and energy to focus on what they want to do, rather then just survival. As I learned more, the sustainable aspects became important to me, not only for individual sustainability, but for global sustainability, because they are inextricably connected. My hope is to someday build my own tiny house using sustainable principles.

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