The Solar House Team at the University of Missouri-Rolla has finalized plans for a new house that will be built on campus property starting Monday, Feb. 26.
Representatives from Thermocore of Missouri have been studying UMR’s plans and preparing pre-fabricated materials for the new house. The foundation has already been prepared in UMR’s Solar Village, where past solar houses built by UMR have found a permanent home. The solar village is located on 10th Street in Rolla, across from UMR’s Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building.
Two finished houses have already been placed on foundations in the solar village. When complete, four solar homes will make up the village. Approximately every-other year, the UMR Solar House Team designs and builds a house to be entered in the Solar Decathlon, a competition and exhibition that is held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
This year’s competition will take place in October. UMR was one of 20 teams selected to receive $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to support the construction of new houses for the 2007 Solar Decathlon.
The houses must be designed in separate parts so that they can be easily taken apart, shipped, and put back together again. However, the goal is to make the houses as comfortable and, of course, as efficient as possible.
“You don’t have to change your lifestyle to be efficient,” says UMR team member Chris Wright.
A flurry of activity will be happening at the UMR building site early next week. The walls of the 2007 house will go up first and the roof will be in place by Tuesday, Feb. 27. That’s the easy part, according to Wright, a senior in mechanical engineering from St. Charles, Mo. Students will then put up drywall and engineer all of the systems, including the wiring and lighting systems. All the while, they’ll have to be mindful that everything has to come apart and go back together.
The completed house will be 800 square feet; but Wright says it will seem bigger because it will have lots of open spaces and “fly away” walls.
Ameren Corp. has donated $22,600 to the UMR team for the house’s renewable energy power generation system, including solar panels. “We’re going to use powerful panels that will allow us to collect the sunlight and change it to usable energy to run our entire house,” says Wright.
The UMR Solar House Team is blogging about their progress at http://sunhome.mst.edu .