Case Study on University of Maryland’s Solar Decathlon Home: reACT Offers Radically Different Vision of Sustainable Housing
Thank you for your feedback
You just added this product to your wishlist.
You just removed this product from your wishlist.
You can't add more to wishlist
Are you sure you want to clear your wishlist?
You can only compare products from the same category.
You just added an item to compare! Keep going!
You just removed an item to compare! Keep going!
Your compare list is full!
You only added 1 product. Please add more products to compare

5m read

Case Study on University of Maryland’s Solar Decathlon Home

The University of Maryland (UMD) presents reACT, a “house as a kit of parts” that can be configured to meet a diverse community’s dynamic needs, as its entry in the 2017 Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. Providing energy-efficient appliances for the home is Chicago-area-based Beko US, Inc. (


The Solar Decathlon challenges the 12 participating university teams to design and build full-sized solar-powered houses, which are then disassembled, shipped to Denver, Colo., and reassembled for judging and exhibition to the public on Oct. 5-9, and 12-15, 2017. The winner is the team that best blends design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency. UMD will receive prize money of $100,000 for its participation, and the overall winner will receive $300,000. 


The UMD team worked with American Indian tribes to create the design concept for reACT (Resilient Adapted Climate Technology). “Many Native American communities live on lands vulnerable to climate change and are exploring sustainable housing, renewable technologies and safe food production as obtainable solutions,” explained Paige Andros, UMD’s student project manager for the Solar Decathlon. “The adoption of energy-efficient design and products such as those found in reACT can combat the effects of the built environment on nature and ecosystem.”


Beko Sponsors UMD’s Solar Decathlon Home/Add One


The home kit consists of separate components and systems parts that can be efficiently manufactured, transported, assembled and disassembled. The design can be readily adapted to a range of climates, communities, construction technologies and ecological environments. reACT also allows families to incrementally build larger and more technologically advanced infrastructure and features as their needs change. Andros says, “It’s a better way to build than popular housing models, and it doesn’t necessarily cost more.” 


The prototype home features 940 square feet of interior space, a 160-square-foot glazed courtyard and 400 square feet of outdoor deck. Besides providing additional dining and lounging space, the courtyard aids in regulating light, temperature and humidity in the home, operating in sync with a mechanical core at the heart of the interior. This core contains high performance, environmentally sensitive systems that interact with one another to manage the flow of water, air and energy. “The core stays the same, but the “wings” of the home can be changed in reaction to different environments and the occupants’ needs,” Andros said.


Energy efficient features include:

  • A solar electric system with battery storage
  • Rainwater collection, filtration and storage, greywater filtration and storage, and a composting toilet, allowing the house to operate independently of utilities
  • An automated SmartHouse data collection and control system package enabling residents to follow and learn from the data it collects and use energy wisely
  • ENERGY STAR-rated appliances by Beko
  • A hydroponic system allowing residents to grow their own food in urban settings


This is the fifth time UMD has been selected to compete in the Solar Decathlon competition. The UMD project, led by a Core-30 student team, combines the efforts of 400 students and community members across many disciplines, including architecture, engineering, environmental science and technology, and plant

Beko Sponsors UMD’s Solar Decathlon Home/Add Two


sciences. After the judging, reACT will return to the university campus for use in

research. It will reside next to UMD’s entry in the 2007 competition – WaterShed – which won first place for its focus on water conservation as well as energy efficiency and architectural design.


When the UMD mechanical team began looking into appliances for reACT, they were impressed by Beko’s consistent Energy Star ratings. Andros said, “The appliances’ technical specs meshed closely with what we were looking for in energy efficiency, and their design worked well with our vision for the kitchen.”


Team Maryland chose the following Beko appliances:

  • Refrigerator (BFTF2715SSIM): The 27” counter-depth, top freezer/refrigerator – named ENERGY STAR Most Efficient in 2017 -- features Active Fresh Blue Light technology that safeguards food and ensures maximum freshness; field reversibility of doors; automatic icemaker; fingerprint-free stainless steel
  • Dishwasher (model DIT25400) – 24” fully integrated dishwasher with 48dBA Silent Operation; Aquaflex dual water pressure cycle; 5-level wash system; flexible baskets
  • Stackable Compact Washer (WMY10148CO) and Dryer (model HPD24412W) – large capacity with 2.5 cu. ft. washing capacity and 4.1 cu. ft. drying capacity; 24” front-loading washer with 1,400 RPM maximum spin speed and 16 washing programs; 24” ventless heat pump dryer with 16 drying programs; chrome door rim; white


Beko’s innovative heat pump dryer made the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2017 ENERGY STAR Most Efficient list for using 50 percent less energy than conventional dryers. Beko was among the first to bring the ventless heat pump technology to the marketplace. The heat pump dryer uses a closed-loop heat exchange system to dry at lower temperatures, saving money on energy bills and providing superior protection for clothes.


In addition, several Beko dishwashers made this year’s ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient list, and all models have earned ENERGY STAR marks for using advanced


Beko Sponsors UMD’s Solar Decathlon Home/Add Three


technology to clean dishes brilliantly with less water and energy. Unique design

features include multiple insulation layers to reduce thermal loss, and a variable speed circulation motor that automatically adjusts for optimum water and energy consumption.


Beko’s ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators also save energy and money and conserve the planet. They are built with 99.9 percent lead-free materials, are 100 percent free from ozone-depleting greenhouse gases, and are manufactured with 85 percent recyclable components.


In fact, the company has achieved the ENERGY STAR certification for over 90% of the major appliances in its Beko brand. According to the EPA, appliances with the ENERGY STAR label can help a consumer save $630 over a product’s lifetime.


With its sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017, Beko, the #1 European freestanding appliance brand just introduced into the North American market, is going the distance to help accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products and design in American homes.


“Everything we do as a brand is centered around sustainability and innovation,” said Hasan Yardimci, president, Beko US, Inc. “Our support of the Solar Decathlon is in keeping with our commitment to provide consumers with products that are both good for the globe and support their everyday needs.”


Beko US, Inc. was founded in June 2016 and recently opened a distribution center in Bolingbrook, Ill.


About Beko US, Inc.

Beko US, Inc. is a subsidiary of Arçelik A.S., whose vision is “Respects the globe, Respected globally.” The company is committed to developing highly energy efficient electrical appliances that deliver exceptional value, superior quality, and high levels of customer satisfaction by listening and responding to the needs of consumers. With a growing presence in 140 countries worldwide, Beko is the fastest growing major appliance brand in Europe and the top-selling brand in the United Kingdom. In June 2016, Beko secured a place in the U.S. market, with retailer commitments and a sister brand, Blomberg, that has been a top choice in premium developments across North America since 2008. In 2017, Beko US, Inc. received the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for its outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. Beko is also the 2017 TWICE VIP Award winner in the high-efficiency washer category. For more information, visit or