Hammer & Hand, a design-build firm based in Portland, is getting well-deserved attention for transforming this circa 1905, dilapidated eyesore into an energy-efficient duplex that uses less than $100 per month in energy. With the help of Scott Edwards Architecture, the team expanded tiny spaces and transformed the lower level to facilitate aging in place.
Today, the Solar Decathlon officially opens to the public and the games begin. The competition is organized by the Department of Energy, and 19 teams have invested more than two years of effort to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner will be the one with the highest score after the following ten contests:
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The value proposition of solar energy is driving great opportunities for homeowners looking to invest in sustainable power production. In fact, the average installed cost of a solar PV system completed in 2010 fell by 17% from the prior year, and the cost has also dropped an additional 11% so far in 2011, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.