You may want to check out this blog: Tiny House Living

The Solar Decathlon Team of the Missouri University of Science and Technology has created four entries in the US Department of Energy competition.  We have lived in the 2007 house located on the S&T campus.  Talking points about the house include:

Main living area:
  • Paperstone counter tops are made from 100% recycled paper.
  • The original furniture was chosen for the environmental friendly processes and products used to make it.  The Oerther's personal furniture was purchased via Craig's List using an approach that efficient reuse of existing things is perhaps one of the best ways of reducing our personal impact on the environment.
  • The south-facing windows provide a natural light source and help to heat the home in the winter (the Oerther's can testify to this fact as the temperature can reach 75F+ on a sunny winter day even when its below freezing outdoors).
  • General Electric appliances were chosen for their Energy Star efficiency rating including
    • An induction cooktop that uses magnetics to heat ferrous pans
    • A combined microwave and convection over that saves space
  • Custom cabinets are made from Lyptus wood, harvested from fast growing eucalyptus trees.
  • The bathroom was designed for luxury and functionality and features an oversized walkin shower and floating vanity.
Main living area:
  • A radiant floor system evenly heats the home.
  • Compact fluorescents and LEDs were used for lighting to save energy and produce less heat output.
  • Home automation system:
    • Touch screen control of temperature and lights
    • Operation of clerestory windows
    • Capability for remote control through a secure flashdrive
    • Motion sensors operate exterior lighting for resident's safety
  • Builtin audio system:
    • Volume and input controls
    • Zoned
  • Walls and roof made of Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs).
    • Polyurethan insulated sandwiched between oriented strand board (OSB)
    • Insulation value more than double that of traditional wall-stud homes
  • Transported in 2 modules.
    • Top half, above the trim, also comes off
Active solar:
  • Water heated through evacuated tubes
  • 40 monocrystalline panels produce 7kW of electrical power