By Dennis Shanoff
Earlier this month I wrote a post regarding Middlebury College’s participation in a solar powered home design, build competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy. Well the Middlebury College team recently put the finishing touches on their energy efficient entry and celebrated the event with a housewarming this week. This was a great opportunity for friends, family, fans, and supporters to get an up close look at the team’s solar home before it has to be dismantled and shipped down to Washington, DC for the 2011 Solar Decathlon Event.
As a project supporter, we at Vermont Woods Studios were anxious not only to see the students hard work, but how the bed we contributed for the master bedroom fit in. So I made the scenic trek up to the Middlebury campus to attend the housewarming to get a firsthand look. And with a “finished” square footage competition maximum of only 1000 SF I was definitely curious to see how the design team would handle the layout. (especially as it was designed for a family of four) What I found was really efficient use of space in an open, yet still cozy arrangement. The interior had a very modern, clean and upscale look.
So we at Vermont Woods Studios certainly felt privileged to be chosen to provide the centerpiece of the master bedroom. And the cherry moon platform bed looked fantastic in the room and worked perfect in the space. The team had us craft the bed in natural maple and its color and it's strong yet simple design absolutely fit in with the light color and airy feeling of the home. Spend some time in this home and one may just start to rethink the need for larger homes. (and larger energy expenses!)
The next step for the team is to get the house down to the National Malls West Potomac Park in Washington DC for the September 23 through October 2 event. The event is free so if you are in the area I think you will find this to be a very interesting and educational event. We think the Middlebury team has a really good chance so stay tuned and we will let you know how they make out! Go Middlebury SD!
By Dennis Shanoff
Making its debut in 2002 and then biannually since 2005 is the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. This competition challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar powered, energy efficient homes that are cost effective, functional, and attractive. The winning team will have successfully blended affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The fifth event will take place Sept. 23–Oct. 2, 2011 at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. and is open to the public, free of charge.
Customers and fans of Vermont Woods Studios are aware of our environmental and social mission and our community of eco friendly furniture makers that are dedicated not only to beauty and quality in our craft, but also to the preservation of our natural environment. So you can imagine our excitement to be a part of the project and support the Vermont Solar Decathlon team by contributing a bed!
You see Vermont’s own Middlebury College is participating in the Solar Decathlon so when one of the schools team members reached out to us for a furniture donation we were thrilled to to no end to be part of such an important “Green Mission” event. This is such a great way to raise awareness about solar energy and sustainable lifestyles. Middlebury SD team member Casey Peterson had contacted us during the team’s research for interior furnishings. Part of the team’s mission is trying to source as much of the building materials and furnishings from Vermont as possible (including harvesting timber from the Middlebury College grounds). And according to Casey what really resonated with the Middlebury design team was not only the quality of work at Vermont Woods Studios but the sustainable production processes used by our workshops. The team chose our Cherry Moon Dovetail Platform Bed to be the centerpiece of the Master Bedroom and we couldn’t agree more with their choice.
The Middlebury team is now putting the finishing touches to the home and at some point will have to disassemble it and transport it down to the National Malls West Potomac Park in Washington DC. During the event, thousands of people will be guided through the 20 homes on display, and the houses will be judged on categories like energy use and home entertainment. And while no team really loses in this competition you know who we are rooting for!
Are you wondering what happens to these Solar Decathlon houses after the competition? Since the first event in 2002, 72 houses have competed in the Solar Decathlon. These houses are now located throughout the United States and around the world and continue to serve numerous education, conservation and community-oriented functions.