A family home with a minuscule energy bill? Yep — and thankfully it’s not just one big solar panel attached to a shoebox. A group of students from three Syracuse, N.Y.-area colleges designed a home that only racks up in energy costs each month — and it’s a 1,925-square-foot craftsman-style beaut.
The students tied for the grand prize in the Department of Energy’s Challenge Home Student Design Competition last month for their blueprint of a three-bedroom home. The two-story house features wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and doorways, passive solar lighting and heating, and a water heat pump connected to a solar thermal system.
The students estimate construction costs would be 43,082 and that the house would sell for about 22,000 (69 per square foot). Invest more money up-front and get rewarded with really low utility bills? Not a bad trade-off!
The other grand prize winners, from Toronto’s Ryerson University, designed a three-story townhouse for a Denver location. Their two-bedroom, two-bath home would span 1,275 square feet and feature a flexible modular workspace, hybrid hot water heater, solar PV, and a “rain screen” to help drain water. They expect construction costs of about 81,000.
—[*Also see](http://www.homeinnovation.com/DOEChallengeHomeStudentDesignCompetition) [Learn more here](http://blog.suny.edu/2014/05/syracuse-university-suny-students-design-home-with-2mo-utility-bill/)