The Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Energy helped fund the Missouri University of Science and Technology Solar House Design Team’s building costs for the 2017 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The competition, which has run since 2002, moved from California to Denver, Colorado, this year, and incorporated new challenges.
The Division of Energy provided $2,500 to help offset construction costs for a farmhouse-themed SILO (Smart Innovative Living Oasis) home, one of 11 entries in the biannual competition. SILO represented a blend of traditional with forward-looking technology that also gave a nod to Missouri’s agricultural industry.
Missouri S&T earned fourth place, its highest-ever finish at the competition, and this was the seventh time that the student team has competed in the Solar Decathlon – more than any other university.
At the competition, a panel of experts judged each of the houses in 10 different categories ranging from creature comforts, such as appliances and hot water, to architecture and marketability. New for 2017 was an added emphasis in smart energy and water-use strategies. Each category earned teams up to 100 points out of 1,000 points available, and Missouri S&T’s team earned a total of 758.315 points.
SILO incorporated an electric car charging station and a home automation system, all powered by 24 monocrystalline solar panels. The home’s interactive Amazon Echo home automation program was student-adapted to control the lights, speakers and thermostat. Another student-designed system used a real-time Arduino to track temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, and tracked energy consumption and generation. A greywater reclamation system was designed to recover water from the bathroom sink, shower and washing machine to be purified for reuse. SILO was also the only home to utilize new Enphase lithium AC batteries, the first AC batteries to be UL 9540 safety certified.
To learn more about Missouri S&T’s SILO home, visit solarhouse.mst.edu.