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NexusHaus-Applying the Energy-Water nexus in Texas

Austin is a dynamic, rapidly growing city which attracts 110 (net) new residents every day. As a result, housing costs have risen by more than 85 percent since 1999. Financial strain on long-time Austinites threatens Austin’s culture and puts stress on urban and natural resources. The integrated energy, water, and food production systems of NexusHaus address these growing issues utilizing solar power during on-peak hours, collecting and treating water, and employing an all-food landscape. Proposed as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for the DOE Solar Decathlon, NexusHaus is designed as a prefabricated home, and under current codes has the potential to add 42,000 dwelling units within city limits on existing single family lots. ADUs can provide additional income for homeowners, increase density, and help alleviate the housing shortage; however, they also stress existing infrastructure. This panel will discuss the house and how it can address issues of density, energy, water, and food.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How can a private residence assist in increasing density within Austin?
  2. How can an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) augment a city's infrastructure rather than stress it?
  3. With Central Texas in a state of perpetual drought, how can we innovate residential water harvesting systems?
  4. How can energy and water be combined into a system that reduces the load on the electric grid during on-peak hours when air conditioning is in high demand?
  5. With the need to increase food production 70 percent by 2050 to meet demand, what systems can homeowners use to produce their own food?



Molly McNamara, student, The University of Texas at Austin

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