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Photo of MiSo* at its permanent location at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Enlarge image

Matthaei Botanical Gardens became the permanent location for MiSo* in June 2006.
(Courtesy of Patricia Ferrer Beals/Matthaei Botanical Gardens)

Who: University of Michigan
What: MiSo*
Evart, MI 48105
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Public tours: Not available.

Solar Decathlon 2005

University of Michigan: Growing Solar Knowledge

Originally designed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2005, the University of Michigan's MiSo* house was put on display at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. It was open to the public for educational tours on weekends and was the subject of ongoing university research. In January 2017, it was purchased by private individuals, who planned to have it updated and moved near Evart, Michigan, as an off-grid home.

MiSo*, which is short for Michigan Solar Project, was delivered to the Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan, following the competition. The house was stored at the airport for almost two years. Ultimately, Professor of Architecture Harry Giles received a grant from the National Science Foundation to research energy-efficient modular housing prototypes. This funding provided an opportunity to move the house to a new location and study its performance.

MiSo* thrived in the gardens. However, the flooring was replaced with tile because of water damage. An edible landscape, a rain garden, and porous paving stones were added to integrate the house with its natural surroundings. In addition, Giles taught with the house. His doctoral students used Miso* as the basis for studying different types of fabrication materials.