Solar Decathlon 2011 Winner Open For 2nd Public Life (VIDEO)

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Originally published on 1Sun4All.

The University of Maryland’s WaterShed, which took first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, recently opened to the public as the Pepco WaterShed Sustainability Center—a living classroom and laboratory for sustainable energy practices.

In its new home, WaterShed will continue its mission to educate the public about the beauty and versatility of sustainable design. Pepco Holdings Inc. acquired WaterShed in 2012 and worked with the 2011 student team to relocate it to a 5,000-ft2 site adjacent to Pepco’s Rockville Service Center in Maryland. Pepco, the electric service provider to Maryland and Washington, D.C., was a long-time sponsor and strong supporter of US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon events in Washington, D.C. Here’s more info from the DOE:

Solar Decathlon 2011 Winner Opens as Educational Research Center

The Pepco WaterShed Sustainability Center features interactive displays that educate visitors about energy-saving ideas—such as smart thermostats, ground and rooftop-mounted solar panels, electric vehicle charging ports, and smart meters—that they can apply in their own homes. The center is also a working laboratory for Pepco and the University of Maryland that focuses on energy efficiency and sustainable living.

WaterShed was inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and represents a model for how a house can help preserve watersheds everywhere by managing storm water onsite, filtering pollutants from greywater, and minimizing water use.

As the WaterShed Sustainability Center, the house features an additional wing along with the hallmarks of its winning design: a dual-purpose “butterfly roof” that captures both sunlight and rain water; an indoor, liquid desiccant waterfall for high-efficiency humidity control; edible landscapes that promote community-based agriculture; and constructed wetlands, which cleanse storm water and greywater for reuse.

Solar Decathlon 2011

The University of Maryland’s entry, which placed first overall, in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, D.C. |Credit: Stefano Paltera | U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

WaterShed has taken on a life way beyond its first life—it’s simply breathtaking. Pepco has done such an amazing job not only assembling WaterShed but also building its landscape, a companion module in which they will do their testing and research, and beginning to build its outreach/K–12 program. -Amy Gardner, University of Maryland Solar Decathlon 2011 faculty lead.

WaterShed exemplifies the ongoing benefit of Solar Decathlon houses. Houses from prior events are now located throughout the United States and around the world, where they continue to serve education, conservation, and community-oriented functions. See the History section of our website for more information about where the houses are now.

The Pepco WaterShed Sustainability Center is located at 201 West Gude Drive in Rockville, Maryland, and is open to the public for guided tours Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 is open to the public – FREE of charge – June 28 through July 14 in Versailles, France, located adjacent to the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. Watch for all of our news from that event.

Fans of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, take note: Solar Decathlon 2015 will be held October 8-18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

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Amber Archangel

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,

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