Penn State'­s Natural Fusion House

A strong connection to the outdoors and locally sourced materials keep PSU's Solar Decathlon house in tune with its natural surroundings.

A wide deck, made from locally grown black locust, extends the home’s living space far beyond its interior footprint. The tri-fold doors from Solar Innovation feature double-pane, argon-filled glass. The Cambia heat-treated poplar does not require treatment for protection against weather and insects; gaps in the cladding and a rainscreen protect the building envelope.

The solar awning on the southern-facing front of the Natural Fusion house combines passive shading with solar collection via PV modules on tracking louvers.

A "Life Well" wall in the kitchen contributes to a natural feel, fills the room with the aroma of herbs, and provides seasoning for cooking. Countertops are made with IceStone, a 100% recycled-glass-and-cement material. Also shown are an Energy Star-rated LG all-in-one washer/dryer, an Electrolux induction cooktop, and an Energy Star-rated Liebherr refrigerator. A clerestory window and skylight bring in light from above.

Skylights bring daylight—and food for the Life Well walls—to the kitchen and bathroom. The ceiling beams were made with local FSC-certified wood.

Continuing the connection to nature, the rear of the home also includes a living wall.

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