From INhome to YOURhome?

There is no place like [an energy-efficient] home, or at least that is what Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson discuss in their book, Who Turned Out the Lights? With about a fifth of the country’s energy going to residential use, the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon could not have occurred at a better time.

The Solar Decathlon is a competition in which 20 collegiate teams from around the world compete in 10 different contests to win the title of the most livable, attractive, and functional solar-powered single family home.

The competition started Friday, September 23 and ended with University of Maryland’s WaterShed house in first place on Sunday, October 2. For more details on the competition visit the Solar Decathlon website here.


University of Maryland's WaterShed House



The team scored a total of 951 points out of 1,000 possible points, and second place went to Purdue University’s house titled INhome, for Indiana home, which scored a total of 931 points. Many of the Solar Decathlon homes will go on exhibition or tour after the contest, but the plan is for the INhome to be placed in a neighborhood in Lafayette, Indiana, as an example of how a sustainable home can still be a practical and comfortable place to live.

Purdue University's INhome

 Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Although INhome did not win, the team consistently scored well throughout the competition and even rose to first place after the first five days of competition.

After scoring second place in the comfort zone contest and third place in the hot water contest, the affordability contest on Tuesday, September 27 gave Purdue an advantage over former first-place team Maryland. Purdue’s team only spent $243,000 of the allotted $250,000 construction budget whereas Maryland’s team spent over the budget by at least $100,000. The affordability contest “encouraged teams to design and build affordable houses that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems,” according to the Solar Decathlon Website.

While sustainable home features can be expensive, they are now coming very much into the mainstream and every product in Purdue’s house can be purchased on the commercial market except one—the bio wall. According to McKenna Regan, communications and marketing manager for INhome, the bio wall is the most unique feature in the house. Not only does the house act as a air filtration system, but it also saves energy.

Bio Wall Diagram

Source: Purdue University

Graduate Student Kevin Rogers Explains his Thesis Project -- The Bio Wall

 Source: Purdue University


Would you put the bio wall from INhome in YOURhome?


-By Natalie Kornicks


2 thoughts on “From INhome to YOURhome?

  1. Hi Natalie,

    I love your use of photos and you include a lot of great info in this post. Try to make your writing a bit more conversational next time instead of straight-up reporting. Hyperlinks should be inserted more frequently, and instead of saying “for more information, click here,” link the words that relate to the site. For example: When writing about the Solar Decathlon, link the words Solar Decathlon instead of adding a link at the end of the paragraph. I really like your title, but split up the words “Your” and “Home” because people will not search for “yourhome” as one word in Google.



  2. Frank Sesno says:

    A blog is your opportunity to share your journey…what you learned, saw, discovered. Bring more of yourself into this. Enable your readers with more links so they can see and explore along with you. Put more edge into your writing…be provocative, clever and, above all, conversational. Love the pictures, the facts, the information here. But be less of a reporter and more of a raconteur! Blog on!

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