Technology.am (May 6, 2009) — University of Minnesota students are developing a fully functioning house powered exclusively by the sun.
The students are members of the University’s solar decathlon team, which will be taking its completed house to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in October to compete against 19 other schools in a biennial national competition.
Ann Johnson, project manager and director of the construction management program said the team focused on making the solar house look like a regular residential home, something that many hi-tech solar houses fail to do.
The house will also use solar energy to provide hot water and solar panels will be integrated into the windows to provide further energy efficiency.
Construction manager Craig Hohensee said when completed the house will cover 800-square feet and will include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room and porch. The house is being constructed in three modules to make it easier to transport to Washington, he said.
After the competition, it will return to Minnesota and be placed at UMore Park in Rosemount where it will be open for tours and educational visits. Hohensee said he hopes someone will eventually be able to move into the house and live there full time.
When all the costs associated with building the house are added up, Johnson estimated the project will cost a total of $400,000 to construct.
The project will help demonstrate the effectiveness of solar energy and students will get a chance to work with and find new applications for cutting edge technology.