- photo credit: University of Maryland
WaterShed harvests 100% of its electrical energy needs from the sun and won the Solar Decathlon this year because they proved to be the overall best affordable, energy-efficient, and attractive home there.
- photo credit: http://2011.solarteam.org
What are some ways WaterShed uses solar-power?
1) They have photovaltaic arrays on their roof tops which converts sunlight into power, which is distributed throughout the house. They designed the roof tops to slope in which sort of hides the fact that there are solar panels up there.
2) WaterShed also has a solar thermal wall shading their east-facing entry deck. It collects energy from the sun and transfers it to two well insulated water tanks in the mechanical room. The wall is a little strange looking but kind of cool at the same time.
3) WaterShed’s heating and cooling system uses heat from the solar thermal array to drive excess humidity out of their innovative Liquid Desiccant Water (LDW) system. The LDW system uses a high-saline liquid solution that absorbs humidity from the air, reducing the load on the mini-split air conditioners. The excess humidity that’s driven out of the desiccant by the solar thermal gets regenerated for future use.
There are two “waterfalls” or LDW systems in WaterShed. In the picture above, the waterfall isn’t turned on. When it is, there’s a yellowish light on and you can see all the water droplets inside which is pretty.
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