The SU+RE House, designed by Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, for the Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, was designed to address the need for sustainable and resilient homes in East Coast communities along the New Jersey and New York shorelines, which are at great risk of rising sea levels and damaging storms. The house was inspired by the devastation caused by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. The house was built to withstand major storms and to provide energy and water when power is lost. Lighter, more adaptable solar panels are attached to the flood-resistant storm shutters and collect sunlight to make energy for hot water. During a storm, the shutters are lowered to protect the house from heavy rain and flying debris. Other innovations were designed to protect the house against flooding with cutting-edge insulation, air sealing, and exterior sheathing, which produces a waterproof barrier. The house is designed to be built at a lower height than the design flood elevation designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Flood Insurance Program. Keeping the building low to the ground also maintains architectural traditions of the area, reduces the cost of building on stilts, and makes the house accessible to the elderly and handicapped, who would have difficulty climbing to the recommended flood-protection heights. To build at lower elevations, the team designed a protective building envelope that would endure a massive storm. In addition to protecting the house from floodwaters and providing energy through the storm, the team built the house to Passive House standards. To help the community during a blackout, the house has a charging hub on the exterior so neighbors without power can charge their electric devices. | Read More