WaterShed - U.S. DOE 2011 Solar Decathlon First Place Winner
Contributor - Faculty Advisor to University of Maryland Team
This project was designed, built and operated by students, with guidance from a team of faculty advisors. As one of those advisors, Mike Binder helped students to define the vision for the project, develop the design, create construction documentation, construct and operate the house. He also assisted in creation of the educational and marketing materials.
WaterShed was built to do more than win the competition (which it did against a field of 18 other universities and academic consortia). It's goal was to change the way people think about solar power and water use. The roof form is designed to collect rainwater and deliver it to the homes central 'water axis', where it is stored and filtered for irrigating the landscape. Greywater (wastewater from the shower, lavatory and clothes washer) are also treated in constructed wetlands. A strong visual connection is made between the interior spaces and these wetlands, gently reminding visitors and residents that water comes from nature (not 'the pipes') and must return to nature when we are done with it.
System integration was a strong design theme as well, allowing the house to make optimum use of resources available at any given time. Solar heat energy was used not only to heat water, but to help dehumidify the house (as part of a novel liquid desiccant system).
This was a great project and an outstanding opportunity to educate not only the future designers of our country, but the public as well. For more information, visit the team's website below.