There are many ways of benefiting from nature’s resources and from clean energy as a home owner. In fact, proper design of a home needs to take many factors into account if one is to create energy-efficient living quarters.
Home owner who wish to be energy-efficient need to consider using passive solar heating, photovoltaic modules, and solar water heating. This involves more than just adding a few solar panels to one’s roof or yard. In fact, in order to create an energy-efficient home, one needs to look at both design and materials used, as well as to incorporate sustainable energy sources into the building structure.
With the above in mind, the Department of Energy sponsors the Solar Decathlon, which is a student design competition, aimed at creating energy efficient homes.
Here you can see one of the contest entries, the Auburn University house, which is based on a traditional southern design called “The Dogtrot.” A central tiled breezeway captures natural cooling breezes in the summer, and divides the house into two warm and compact living areas in winter.
Also reminiscent of older southern homes, a metal clad roof is included, with deep overhangs to shade the interior from the harsh summer sun. The roof is covered with solar panels which provide electricity for the home.