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frequently asked questions

Can I buy leaf house?

The house is sold! Here are some great resources to get started on your own solar home. If you are a developer and you are interested in developing a leaf community, please contact us.

How much does the house cost?

The total cost of the project, including both house and administrative costs, is $549,470. In production, LEAFHouse "competition model" would cost $228 per square foot.  Larger versions of LEAFHouse would cost $180 per square foot.

i'm waiting in line to see the house. what can I do right now?

If you're on a mobile device, download and listen to the in-line audio tour (MP3 4 MB), or call 301-6377-UMD (301-637-7863).

Where can I get a liquid desiccant waterfall (LDW)?

Although many systems in the house are off-the-shelf products, the LDW is a prototype.

how can I get a press kit?

Most of the materials you will need are included in the sponsors kit on this site.

When did the project begin?

Design began in January, 2006  Construction began in February, 2007

who worked on the house?

Over 200 students have been involved over the past two years. Team members from:

  • School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation 
  • A. James Clark School of Engineering 
  • College of Chemical and Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 
  • Department of Communication 
  • Landscape Architecture Program 
  • Robert H. Smith School of Business

What is a kilowatt hour?

Take a moment to understand the difference between kilowatts and kilowatt-hours. The former is the rate of power at any instant. The latter is the amount of energy used A light bulb doesn't use 60 watts in an hour, it uses 60 watt-hours in an hour.

1,000 watt-hours is a kilowatt-hour (kWh).

A kilowatt hour is the amount of energy you use if you are using a kilowatt of power for a whole hour. (1 kW * 1 hour). Leaving a 60 watt bulb on for an hour uses 60 watt hours, the same as leaving a 30 watt bulb on for two hours.

How did Maryland do in the two previous Decathlons?

2002: fourth overall
2005: eighth overall, winner of People’s Choice Award

How wide and long is the house?

18’-9” wide; 39’ long

Can I have a copy of The Ravaging Tide?

This is University of Maryland’s “First Year Book.” We will be giving away a few copies randomly throughout the competition.

What is the output of the panels?

34 Sanyo photovoltaic (PV) panels, each generating 205 watts of electricity. Our array is capable of generating a maximum of 7.1kW of electricity. Or about 770kWh per month, enough clean power to comfortably run the household.

How long will the batteries last?

They can run 24 hours a day for 4 – 5 days w/ no sun.

What is the cost of Installing a Solar Hot Water and PV System on Your House

This illustration is for a house in Howard County, which recently passed tax incentive legislation. So, a homeowner in Howard County can take advantage of federal, state, and county tax incentives for both solar hot water and PVs.

A hot water system for 2 to 3 people, using flat plate (not evacuated tubes) would cost between $7000 and $8500 installed. With tax incentives, the total installed cost would be about $2500.

A PV system, for 1kW, costs $12,500 installed. With incentives, that cost is $3,000. A 2kW system costs $21,500 installed. Because some incentives have a cap, the reduction isn’t as much, but the total installed cost comes to about $11,500.

Yearly energy savings show how many years it takes for the “pay-back,” which is the amount of energy savings that offsets the initial investment. After that, you are making money.




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