Famed Michigan Solar House set to make cross-state trip

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 16:56:22-04

After being an exhibit for people to see, and walk-through, for more than a decade the famed Michigan solar house becomes a home.

In the process one of the weirdest scenes will unfold on Michigan roads.

The one-time award winning solar concept home is being deconstructed and will soon be driven from Ann Arbor to Evart, Michigan with the help of six trailers.

“It’s very odd because you can see right through it,” said Rob Patterson, the Meadowlark Design + Build worker overseeing the deconstruction of the famed home. “They’re basically big ovals that you’ll see going down the road.”

The Michigan solar house, also known as MiSO, was the original concept of a tiny home. It was meant to be mobile, and self-sufficient using solar energy collected by rooftop solar panels to create electricity and heat for the home. The aluminum home is also constructed in such a way to stay cooler than you would expect in the winter.

MiSo was designed by a handful of University of Michigan students back in 2005. It’s been sitting at the Matthei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor ever since.

The home looks like a gigantic aluminum shell currently, but when fully assembled it forms a 660 square-foot award winning solar-powered home. The design was a hit at the 2005 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC.

“This isn’t similar to anything we’ve ever done before,” said Patterson, noting that there is no instruction manual on taking it apart or putting it back together.

There are, however, two former students that helped design the home now working with the company that was hired to deconstruct it.

The couple who snatched up the home once it went on the auction block earlier this year also have a unique connection.

"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," said Lisa Gunneson, a natural health therapist and educator.

Monday marked the first day that construction crews began to disassemble the home. The work will continue Tuesday, and the sections of the home will likely hit the road on Tuesday afternoon.