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One Couple's Journey To Live In An Award-Winning Solar-Powered Home

By Maria Cook

While most people may not have heard of the Solar Decathlon, it's a large and intense competition, put on every year by the U.S. Department of Energy that generates some amazing results. According to the Solar Decathlon website, the event involves "10 contests that challenge student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses." From among these student teams, the winner will be "the team that best blends design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency."

At the 2005 Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C., a solar-powered home constructed by students from the University of Michigan took top honors. Their design, a 660 square-foot home made partially from sustainable materials such as sunflower-board, ash wood, and aluminum was titled the "MiSo House" by its creators. According to the University of Michigan website, the MiSo House was designed to be easily customizable and transportable, with panels which can be easily broken down and snapped back together in different configurations.

It is this extreme transportability that made it possible for the MiSo House to be moved from its home of ten years on the grounds of the University of Michigan to its new, permanent location on the private property of Lisa and Matt Gunneson, who live in northern Michigan. According to Inhabitat, the home was able to be moved piece by piece, making the process far less cumbersome than trying to move even a small traditional modular home.