Unique Solar Concept House in Ann Arbor Will Become Permanent Home in Northern Michigan

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Meadowlark Design + Build in Ann Arbor today announced plans to restore and transport the Michigan Solar House (MiSo), a 660-sqaure-foot solar powered house, into a full-time residence for its new owners, Lisa and Matt Gunneson.

Meadowlark, a residential design-build construction company, will assist in moving the house more than 170 miles to the Gunneson’s property in Evart (northwest of Mt. Pleasant).

The MiSo project was conceptualized in 2005, and was a collaboration between the faculty and staff at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning for the Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C. The goal was to create a prototype suitable for mass production while providing for customization, as well as employ passive energy methods and ultimately achieve net-zero energy consumption.

The house converts both photovoltaic and solar-thermal energy into hot water for the radiant floors and electricity, which in turn provides power for all energy-dependent elements including lighting and pumps. Like an automobile, the MiSo was envisioned as a residential module that could be autonomously fed by solar power and heating, and be replicated around the globe.

For the past 10 years, MiSo has been an exhibit at the University’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor. When it was auctioned last October, the Gunneson’s placed the winning bid.

“We have an emotional connection to the MiSo, as Matt and I had our first date at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and were married there in 2015,” says Lisa, a natural health therapist and educator. “When we heard the solar home was up for auction, we put in a bid because we really want to live a simple, self-sufficient kind of life.”

After the MiSo’s move to Evart, Meadowlark will continue to work with the Gunneson’s to provide for a net-zero impact home. Doug Selby, Meadowlark’s CEO, says net-zero would normally be a challenging process, but the MiSo home was specifically engineered to be sustainable in a variety of environments.

The Gunnesons hope to be living in the home full-time by spring.

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