College Students Build Solar-Powered Home That Can Grow Food Indoors

Check out this impressive home based around self-sufficiency

A team of graduate students from the University of Maryland took home the second place prize in the Solar Decathlon by creating a solar-powered home that can grow food indoors.

A team of graduate students from the University of Maryland won second place in this year’s Solar Decathlon for their solar-powered home design that features hydroponic farming. Their design, named ReACT (which stands for “resilient adaptive climate technology”), was entered in the U.S. Department of Energy’s biannual competition for eco-friendly housing prototypes, which draws submissions from college students around the world.

The home, which took 18 months to design, features a “living wall” that grows leafy green vegetables in nutrient-rich water, a roof of solar panels that capture sunlight for energy used to power the home, an enclosed greenhouse that uses a system to distribute warm air throughout the home in fall and winter, and a composting toilet.


Josh Baur/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon


Dennis Schroeder/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The ReACT team told Business Insider that the home would be ideal for Native American communities due to their emphasis on self-sufficiency.

"ReACT embraces emerging sustainable building practices that promise to transform and support tribal housing projects, while also providing the two-thirds of Native Americans living in urban centers with housing options that support a more harmonious, balanced and sustainable interactions with the natural world," they told the outlet.


Josh Baur/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
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According to Decathlon judges, the ReACT home secured its No. 2 spot for its focus on home gardening and water re-use system. Are you focusing on being kinder to the planet? Here are 20 ways to be more eco-friendly.