Every two years, the U.S. Department of Energy holds a solar decathlon, which challenges student teams from around the world to create energy-efficient solar-powered homes. This year, students at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology took the top prize with their cutting-edge design.

SURE house

They call it the “SURE” house: S-U for sustainability, R-E for resilience. With thick insulation and thirty-two rooftop solar panels, the SURE House uses 90 percent less energy than the average New Jersey home.

But on top of that, the SURE House is built to withstand the kind of severe weather that has become increasingly common and often linked to climate change. It’s airtight, waterproof up to five feet, and features built-in storm shutters to protect the house from wind and debris.

Although the house is still a prototype, faculty project manager Ed May says it might offer hope to New Jerseyans still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

MAY: “You know, two, three years later, a lot of these communities are still not rebuilt, and there’s a lot of confusion around, what should we be building in these neighborhoods?”

May hopes the SURE House will show others on the Jersey shore what a safe and sustainable future can look like.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Peter Bresnan.
Photo source: Department of Energy’s SolarDecathlon website.

More Resources
These students designed a 100 percent solar house that laughs at hurricanes
Solar Decathalon 2015 website featuring the solar house
SU+RE House website

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