UB's super-efficient GRoW Home earned second overall and placed top-five in each of the Solar Decathlon's 10 contests. The house placed first in three of those contests, all in measures of energy performance. The 2015 Solar Decathlon took place Oct. 8-18, in Irvine, Ca. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Proposing a new way of living with energy, the GRoW Home embraces Buffalo's urban farming culture and its seasonal weather cycles, offering occupants a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
The physical heart of the home, the GRowlarium is a year‐round growing space that captures the sun’s light and warmth during the winter and opens up to outdoor living during Buffalo’s comfortable summer and shoulder seasons. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
UB architecture students designed and built six multifunctional furnishings to enhance the efficiency of the GRoW Home.This canning cabinet complements the home’s urban gardening mission: The console’s lid flips open to reveal a compartment for storing a pressure canner, and four wooden shelves hold mason jars. Photo: Carl Burdick
This student-designed storage unit dividing the bedroom and living area features a rotating television and entertainment platform to serve both rooms. Photo: Carl Burdick
The Solar Decathlon's top performer in energy efficiency, UB's GRoW Home features 10-inch-thick structural insulated panels, 6.7 kilowatts of grid-tied solar panels and solar water heating, operative shading and high-performance windows and folding glass doors. Photo: Carl Burdick
The GRoWlarium features rolling metal tables for holding soil and starter plants. The furniture was fabricated by students with the assistance of Buffalo’s Rigidized Metals Corp. Photo: Carl Burdick
The 1,100‐square‐foot GRoW Home produces twice the energy it consumes through passive and active solar energy features such as super thick walls and dynamic fenestrations and shading. Photo: Carl Burdick
The UB GRoW Home GRoWlarium, a 340-square-foot glass-enclosed sunroom that doubles as a greenhouse for growing food year-round. Photo: Carl Burdick
The GRoW Home kitchen and its double-sided kitchen table, which students designed to flip from its steel surface for prepping food to a wooden surface for dining. Photo: Carl Burdick
Schoolchildren get a tour of the of UB's GRoW Home during the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
The GRoW Home's signature steel canopy braces 24 Silevo PV panels and a solar water heating system while providing shading for the entire home. It also serves as infrastructure for climbing plants and, eventually, a green wall and roof. Photo: Carl Burdick
Nate Heckman (center) of UB's GRoW Home team leads a tour of the GRoWlarium during one of the competition's public visitation sessions. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
UB GRoW Home team member Stephanie Acquario waters plants using water from a morning hot water draw during the Solar Decathlon. Photo: Carol Laurie/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Thousands were invited inside UB's GRoW Home for tours and a sneak peek at the latest in energy-efficient living. The house will now be shipped back to Buffalo, where it will serve as an energy education center for the community.
UB's GRoW Home team celebrates its 3rd place award in the Communications category at the Solar Decathlon. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
GRoW Home team members celebrate UB's 2nd place finish on Oct. 17, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park, Irvine, Ca. Photo: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Published October 17, 2015
Countless hours of designing, building, fine-tuning and fundraising over the past two and a half years have paid off for the more than 200 University at Buffalo students and faculty members who worked on the GRoW Home.
Their super-efficient solar-powered masterpiece placed second overall in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon. The final results were tabulated Saturday morning and the top three overall place finishers were announced during a ceremony inside a former military hangar in Orange County Great Park, where the 10-day competition has taken place.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled and prouder of the team. Watching them elevate their level of performance with every new milestone that we got to, they just rose to every challenge that they met, said Martha Bohm, GRoW Home faculty advisor and assistant professor of architecture.
Community, alumni, friends rally behind project:
UB's successful run in the Solar Decathlon has benefitted from the financial support of more than 450 individuals and organizations. Thanks to all for making UB’s first entry in the Solar Decathlon possible.