Ohio State’s entry, dubbed enCORE, was partly inspired by Ohio’s recent economic decline. "It was important for us to show how Ohio still has manufacturing and technologies that are about the future," says faculty architecture adviser Keoni Fleming. The house incorporated a thin-film array manufactured in Toledo and an Ohio-made solar array and doors. To keep costs down, the team chose inexpensive materials and common building techniques. "The house is standard platform framing with 2x6s, but we used advanced framing techniques," Fleming says. "The prefabricated roof trusses line up with the wall studs, allowing a top plate to be eliminated. The windows use metal brackets, so you don’t need double studs at the openings. It minimizes materials." The house employs low-cost passive measures and innovative technology, such as a solar thermal hot-air system incorporating a desiccant wheel that can lower humidity. A sliding polycarbonate screen provides privacy and sun protection, a bioremediation system filters rainwater, and the dynamic plan extending from a consolidated building core provides ample living space. "The house is sized to work for a family with a child," Fleming says. "The last time we came to the Solar Decathlon, you’d hear a lot of people say, ‘Wow this is great. But I could never see myself living here.’ I think what we wanted to show this time is, well, actually you could.

Estimated cost: $285,982.23