Missouri University of Science and Technology is one of 20 universities that will be participating in the 2009 Solar Decathlon this October in Washington, D.C. Members of Missouri S&T’s Solar House Team are currently building a new home on campus for the competition.
The Missouri S&T team has been designing and building the new house for more than a year. In late September, the house will be shipped to Washington. It will be displayed on the National Mall along with the other teams’ homes from Oct 8-18.
During the competition, the solar houses are judged in 10 categories, including architecture, engineering and energy balance. This year, the Missouri S&T house is equipped with a home automation system that monitors energy efficiency.
“Our home automation system is completely custom and we are actually in the process of obtaining a patent for it,” says team member Lucas Sudkamp, a senior in civil and architectural engineering from St. Louis.
The S&T house has about 650 square feet of living space. The house cost approximately $350,000 to build. The team is subsidized through fundraising efforts and by a $100,000 grant from the Department of Energy.
The 2009 house is the fourth solar home designed and built by S&T students. Missouri S&T and the Universidad de Puerto Rico are the only universities that have been involved with all four Solar Decathlons, which are typically held every-other-year in Washington.
Houses built for previous competitions are currently situated on foundations in Missouri S&T’s Solar Village. The homes are available for rent to students. After the 2009 competition, the new house will be trucked backed to Rolla and become part of the village.
The houses are highly efficient. In the summer, the Solar Village generates extra energy that Missouri S&T sells to a utility company.
Eleven students on the S&T team will be going to Washington this October to participate in the Solar Decathlon. A group of architecture students from the University of Missouri-Columbia is collaborating with the S&T team on this year’s house.