Solar Decathlon 2017: Team reACT

Permanent URI for this collection

The 2017 Team Maryland developed reACT—short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology— demonstrating that homes can help people live in harmony with nature while at the same time harnessing her gifts of solar energy, water, and food. Designed with influences from Nanticoke and Maryland (Delmarva) tribal traditions, reACT includes a composting system, hydroponic garden, vegetable garden, and movable “living walls” covered in plants. The project also demonstrates urban farming—an important facet of self-sufficient living.

The Maryland team invites you to think of reACT as a living organism, with six modules performing vital functions. Systems that capture and process waste, water, and energy allow the house to operate with complete self-sufficiency, and the house’s living systems are fully disentangled from structure, so the house can adapt as occupants’ needs change—for example, by adding a new bedroom module. Much more than a “one-off,” reACT is intended to serve as a seminal prototype for a "house as a kit of parts" design concept. This kit consists of separate components and systems parts that can be efficiently manufactured, transported, assembled, and disassembled. The intention is to create a home-building kit that can be readily adapted to a range of clients, communities, construction technologies, and ecological environments.

Features and Technologies:

  • A mechanical core manages the flow of water, air, and energy.
  • A central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels extends the living space and acts as a solar heat collector.
  • The house demonstrates urban and ancestral Native American farming with a hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls.
  • A barrel composter turns food scraps into nutrients, and a composting toilet processes human waste.
  • A solar electric PV array with battery storage; rainwater and greywater collection and treatment systems; and a composting toilet allow the house to operate independently.
  • Designed with influences from Nanticoke and Maryland tribal traditions, the house incorporates materials that consider tribal environmental ethics.
  • An automated SmartHouse data collection and control system package enables residents to follow and learn from the data it collects and use energy wisely.