US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

By: Cherie Y. Anderson In the fall of 2011, Purdue University represented the state of Indiana in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.  The 2011 Solar Decathlon was held at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington D.C. The project began in 2009 with nearly 200 participants from various Purdue academic departments, from engineering to communications. A team of students and a couple of  faculty advisors were responsible for the entire design, build, and solar energy engineering of a home. Students were challenged to design a completely solar powered  1000 square foot home. The team partnered with great corporate sponsors to showcase the latest in technology for environmentally savvy building products. Structured insulated panels by Thermocore were used to build the shell of the home, while triple glazed windows by Crestline were used to allow in natural light while maintaining the home’s indoor tempature. In addition, a dual stage heat pump by Trane provided heating and cooling and a heat pump water heater by GE was used to cycle hot water to faucets as needed. All of the products used were an integral part of the energy points earned in the competition. Purdue’s team won 2nd place in the overall competition against 20 other collegiate teams from across the U.S., which included a couple of Big 10 competitors. This May, our home state team was awarded the Green Building Award and was certified Gold by Green Building.  Also, The INHome is registered as a LEED Silver project with the US Green Building Council. Picture:  Secretary Steven Chu, US Department of Energy, speaks with student team member Jordan Wallpe as he demonstrates the inverter system showcased in Purdue University’s garage at the 2011 Solar Decathlon. | Credit: Stefano Paltera, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

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