This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 17, 2011

A U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Entry for Historic Norfolk

It's a tale of two universities with a vision for one historic city. Students from both Hampton and Old Dominion universities have joined forces to compete in the upcoming U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 with their entry, called Unit 6 Unplugged. At Tidewater Virginia, the students will unveil their vision for the future—an energy-efficient house that captures the "Arts and Crafts" design style of homes dotted throughout historic Norfolk, Virginia.

One of the team's key design features is the transitional sunspace. During the warmer months the sunspace acts as an exterior porch—motorized windows open up to let air and sunlight filter in. During colder months, the sunspace transitions into an enclosed space that functions as a heat sink—the floor absorbs heat and disperses it throughout the house overnight. See the Energy Blog post.