Photo of the Solar Decathlon 2011 student teams. The front row holds a banner with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon logo.

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Bookmark and Share

Team Tennessee: Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University

Team website:

Team Tennessee, made up of first-time U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon participants Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University, is creating Harmony House—a sustainable and efficient home for a lower-income family. With a traditional fa├žade, wide front porch, open living space conducive to entertaining, and plentiful outdoor space, Harmony House is a modern interpretation of one of Tennessee's oldest architectural styles—the dogtrot house. The dogtrot house traditionally comprised two side-by-side log cabins connected by a center breezeway and covered by a shared roof. This breezeway, or "dogtrot," allowed breezes to flow through the home during hot summer months. Team Tennessee designed a modern version of the dogtrot using wide French doors in the center of the east and west walls that open onto porches to create a breezeway through the middle of the house.

Team Tennessee's goal is to make sustainability, affordability, and energy efficiency available to low-income families in high-population areas. By designing Harmony House in three distinct modules, the house will be lower-cost, adaptable, and easily transportable. Harmony House's built-in garden will encourage residents to grow fresh fruits and vegetables during Tennessee's 225-day growing season—one of the longest in the nation.


Ralph Bruce