Construction of West Virginia University's Solar Decathlon house is in its final stage. Tuesday, the university held a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the hard work students have done getting the house prepared for competition.
The log style house is stocked full of technology designed to produce 150 percent of the energy it needs to operate on a daily basis.
"Our home feature 273 30-watt solar panels," said Solar Decathlon Team member Wesley Kidwell, "We have a solar hot water system, we have a fully automated smart home system and we feature other things like a passive cooling system."
The passive cooling system is one of the most unique features. It uses what is essentially a glass greenhouse on the outside of the building to create hot air that, when properly vented, creates air circulation and draws cool air from underneath the house that is vented into the home.
Like many features, the passive cooling system saves energy and is cheap to run, because it doesn't cost a thing. So what can the average family house learn from the Solar Decathlon home? The smart house system is a great place to start.
It can be installed in any home, and if you are a DIY (Do It Yourself) fan, you can even take on the task yourself.
The smart home system is designed to tell you how much energy you're actually using. It takes special outlets that communicate wirelessly to a receiver, which in turn communicates directly to the computer. The system allows you know exactly how much energy you're using, how much it's costing you, and where the biggest problems are.
"When you put dollar signs to actions, it opens your eyes a bit," said Solar Decathlon team member Kevin Davis. "You realize how much you spend by just leaving your TV on, and drawing attention to it is a great way to reduce it."
There are many systems already out on the market, many work directly with your phone and can even allow you to control your locks and media players.
The home will soon be torn down and sent to Irvine, CA where the house will be completed for competition.
To learn more about the home see this prior article.