The student team from the University of Maryland drew inspiration from the Chesapeake Bay by building a home that focuses on energy and water conservation. It tries to recreate the Bay's ecosystem with the building itself by capturing storm water and filtering it with native vegetation on site. During a week in Washington D.C., the house was able to produce more energy than it consumed with its solar photovoltaic and solar hot water panels.
The Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon is held every two years in Washington as a competition among 20 university student teams to build the most compelling solar-powered house. This year, there was an increased focus on affordability by limiting teams to $250,000 in construction costs.