U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun

Solar Decathlon 2011

Middlebury College

Middlebury College's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry, Self-Reliance, is permanently located on its campus in Vermont, where it continues to fulfill its educational mission.

Students and visiting faculty can experience 100% solar-powered living by spending a semester or summer in the house. Although Self-Reliance is smaller than today's average American home—just 990 ft2—residents enjoy the efficiently designed space, learn about their energy-consumption habits from the energy-monitoring dashboard system, grow their own vegetables in the greenhouse wall, and benefit from living in a home made from durable, natural, local materials.

By incorporating the best features of the New England farmhouse into a novel design for the 21st century, Self-Reliance won fourth place in the Solar Decathlon 2011 competition and earned first-place finishes in the Market Appeal, Communications, and Home Entertainment contests.

Photo of Self-Reliance surrounded by trees, grass, and bicycles. A rainbow is visible in the sky. Enlarge image

Self-Reliance is now located on the campus of Middlebury College, where interested students can apply to live in the house in groups of four each semester. During their stay, residents engage in community outreach projects related to the mission of the house. (Photo by Erik Fendik)

Who: Middlebury College
What: Self-Reliance
44 Porter Field Road
Middlebury, VT 05753
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Public tours:
To schedule a tour, contact: self-reliance@middlebury.edu.