Feature Article /
Sep 6, 2017

Solar Decathlon: 7 Sustainable and Durable Products in the UAB Solar Home


Photo courtesy of Team Alabama

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)’s submission to the biennial Solar Decathlon competition is a home made to endure, and many of the products used in the solar-powered SURVIV(AL) House are both sturdy and sustainable.

Team Alabama found a need for resilient housing after seeing the impact of the 2011 tornado super outbreak in the region. Their home design features “Quick Permanence,” which the team describes as the ability to quickly rebuild and assemble the home “to provide comfort, security, and energy independence in the aftermath of a disaster.”

At the center of Team Alabama’s home is a strong room, which permanently extends below the level of the subfloor and can be used for protection during tornadoes and other natural disasters. Also at the forefront of the home’s design is an homage to Southern vernacular, including two full porches like those common in historic Southern architecture.

The SURVIV(AL) home keeps a tight envelope to protect from the heat of the Southern climate, and is oriented to take advantage of the solar roof year-round. After the competition, it will live at a demonstration site where it will continue to be researched.

“All of Team Alabama’s SURVIV(AL) members are committed to being a part of the next generation of problem solvers and to advancing sustainable smart solutions for the future,” the team says.

Here are seven of the sustainable products they used in their home.

This story is part of a series covering the U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon competition, which will conclude in Denver, Colo., this October. Leading up to the event, the PRODUCTS team is bringing you the coolest green building and design products in a number of the 13 competing universities’ homes.