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.
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.
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.
Source: Purdue University
Source: Purdue University
Would you put the bio wall from INhome in YOURhome?
-By Natalie Kornicks