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A year after ASU's Solar Homestead won the People's Choice Award in the 2011 Solar Decathlon
competition, private homebuilders are taking note. File photo




Originally published: 2012-11-29 16:44:56
Last modified: 2012-11-29 22:01:02

Solar home inspires NC modular builder

by Anna Oakes

Thanks to the work of Appalachian State University professors and students, living in an affordable, renewable energy-powered home could be possible sooner rather than later.


On Monday, Sanford-based Homes by Vanderbuilt released a statement heralding "new innovations in solar housing," specifically pointing to the Solar Homestead -- ASU's entry in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy international Solar Decathlon competition.


The solar-powered home -- designed and built by ASU students and professors -- received the competition's People's Choice Award, and in September, Watauga Democrat reported that Asheville-based homebuilder Deltec Homes had received a contract to market and manufacture the Solar Homestead design.


Deltec Homes planned to offer the two-bedroom configuration at a turnkey price of approximately $225,000, the company president said at the time.


Homes by Vanderbuilt constructs prefabricated modular and doublewide homes starting at $69,995, including a line of "Xtreme Green Homes," according to its website.


"In doing so, the company provides the opportunity of homeownership to Americans living in North Carolina, southern Virginia and the northern region of South Carolina," it said.


In its statement, Homes by Vanderbuilt said it believes modular home designs will enable solar energy solutions to make their way into the housing market on a wider scale.


"The recent Solar Homestead design by Appalachian State University has won the attention of pre-fabricated home professionals everywhere," the statement from the company said. "Homes by Vanderbuilt is one company focused on developing green living solutions and believes that solar energy is one source of alternative energy that can easily be applied to designs found within the modular home industry."


The company said it is working with its engineers to explore options and that it hopes to offer a solar home soon.


Requests for additional comments from company officials and from Jamie Russell, assistant professor in ASU's Department of Technology & Environmental Design, were not returned as of presstime.