Solar Decathlon 2013: Harvest Home

Harvest Home, a 760 sq ft 1 bedroom entry at Solar Decathlon 2013 |

Harvest Home is the Solar Decathlon 2013 entry by Team Capitol DC, made up of three schools from the Washington, D.C. area – Catholic University, George Washington University and American University. The house has 760 ft2 (70.6 m2) of living space, not including the large mechanical room shown on the floor plan. That makes for a very spacious one-bedroom home, with an especially large bedroom and bathroom. The reason for the generous room sizes is that Team Capitol DC designed the house to be wheelchair friendly, with plenty of room for a wheelchair user to maneuver. That wasn’t just an intellectual exercise; the team is donating the completed home to Wounded Warrior Homes.

Other features that make the home wheelchair friendly include wider than average doorways, a large curbless roll-in shower, and knee-space under the sinks and cooktop. The laundry was also located in a bedroom closet to be easily accessible. Beside making life easier for people in wheelchairs, I personally think the bedroom is a great place to put the laundry. The bedroom is where dirty clothes tend to pile up and where the clean clothes go, the bed makes a convenient place for sorting clean laundry, and a bedroom is a more pleasant place to iron and fold than a cramped laundry room.

Harvest Home, a 760 sq ft 1 bedroom entry at Solar Decathlon 2013 |

On the energy-efficiency front, Harvest Home has the usual array of high-tech solar collectors and monitoring systems expected of a Solar Decathlon entrant. More basic but integral to the design of the house itself are the two sets of sliding patio doors on opposite sides of the living space, which should provide for very effective natural cross-ventilation. The sun hitting the south-side doors is modulated by louvered shading panels. When not needed, the panels slide into a storage pocket that is built into the wall. By recognizing the need for a controllable shading system, the team was able to seamlessly integrate it into the design of the house.

Harvest Home, a 760 sq ft 1 bedroom entry at Solar Decathlon 2013 |

As with all the Solar Decathlon competitors, the detailed construction plans for Harvest Home have been put in the public domain. That means they can be downloaded for free from the Solar Decathlon website.

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Photographs by Jason Flakes, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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