Here’s a great way to reduce household energy-costs – have a home powered by the sun. The University of Minnesota is selling the a student-designed home for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2009 Solar Decathlon. The 550-square-foot home took fifth place out of 20 teams inn October’s Solar Decathlon, a DOE-sponsored contest where universities from around the world design and build the most efficient and appealing sun-powered home. Named ICON Solar House due to its classic gabled roof design, the house was designed and built by team from U of M’s Institute of Technology, College of Design and College of Continuing Education.
The ICON Solar House has all the comforts of a traditional home along some of the most advanced technology available on the market today.
On the ICON Solar House, the ridge of the roof is pulled towards the north, which expands the surface area on the southern side. At the same time, the ridge is raised so that the solar panel roof is angled perfectly for maximum sun exposure during the winter, when energy demand is at its peak. In Minnesota, located in the north central section of the US, an angle of 35 degrees to 45 degrees is usually considered ideal for solar collection during the winter. Competition rules required a lower roof pitch so the designers used energy modeling software to determine that a roof angle of 28 degrees in addition to a certain amount of surface area on the southern half of the roof would produce the greatest amount of solar energy.
In the ICON Solar House integrated shelving system runs the entire length of the house, incorporating lighting, HVAC ductwork, partitions and doors. The house a rainscreen instead of siding allows air movement behind the cladding material, helping to draw away moisture from the membrane and plywood sheathing while still allowing the wall to permeate moisture vapor. At the same time, the rainscreen wall meets the aesthetic goals of the house and the project concept, with horizontal slats that have a similar pattern as traditional wood siding.
The minimum bid on the house is $200,000. The house has a retail value of over $550,000 and exceeds all relevant building codes. An allowance of $20,000 will be provided by the university for consulting and assistance in assembling the ICON House on site. For more information on the purchase process, as well as a sales brochure, go to Interested buyers may also contact Chip Foster at the university’s Purchasing Services at firstname.lastname@example.org