When we shared a few lists of new cost-effective, good-looking prefab homes, a couple of readers had important practical concerns: Well, how do they stand up to hurricanes and extreme weather? Though few of those prefabs were specified to be hurricane-resistant, the model home picture above sure is. SURE (Sustainable Resilient) HOUSE, designed by students of Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, was just crowned winner of this year's national collegiate Solar Decathlon, meaning it's the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar-powered house in the competition. Beating out 19 other projects, Sure House exceeds Passive House standards and uses 90 percent less energy than the average home in New Jersey.
Informed by the realities of 2012's Superstorm Sandy, Sure House was designed to keep running after disaster strikes. The 1,000-square-foot home not only features 32 regular solar panels connected to the grid, but a second solar PV array built into the structure's fiber composite shutters (which also snap down to waterproof the structure during storms.) Sure House can also be raised slightly to fend off periodic flooding and protect vital building systems. For a detailed overview of Sure House's performance and implications, head to Vox.