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Solar Home Built by Students

Submitted by on 1 November, 2020 – 4:32 am
Students from the Boston Architectural College (BAC) and Tufts University have presented a completely solar house, the Chamber of Curio, as New England’s entry into the Solar Decathlon competition. Entry is one of 20 designs of the university student teams competing for this year’s award for best solar house design.

The solar house will be dismantled and reassembled on the National Mall in Washington, DC, next month, where he will undergo 10 days of trial. The student design house will be open to the public and will be judged by factors such as design appeal, the viability of marketing, energy efficiency and the amount of surplus electricity generated by the house.

The budget for the design team in New England for the 800 square foot one-story house was about $ 200,000, and they expect the sale price could be about the same level, but for a small number of solar panels. The sale price would make the design much more commercial than the design of the 2007 competition by a German team, which sell for $ 1.2 million.

Boston students worked for almost two years on the project. Reduced costs for the purchase of products widely available from building supply stores, and using a simple, modular design could be built easily. The most expensive items were the bank of 28 solar panels from SunPower high-end and five solar thermal panels to heat your home and hot water supply.

Tufts student Matt Thoms, who served as project director of engineering at the House of Curio and photovoltaics, said the team wanted to build a house that could be available now, and not something that would not be available on the market five to ten years.

Students also wanted to design a house that would be suitable for city and urban life, not just for people in rural areas who live outside the network. With this in mind, the house is designed for a couple with a toddler, and includes screens for front and back porch that provides privacy. The house has waited technologies in the homes of the city today, such as Ethernet, but also has a small garden irrigated by captured rainwater to encourage occupants to grow some of their own food and a sustainable lifestyle.

Photovoltaic panels supply 6.4 kW, which is more than a home of equal size would have if connected to the network, but for the competition of the house should operate for 10 days off the grid. A number of jobs must be completed, as a movie night with the entertainment system of the house and washing 10 loads of laundry during the period. Powered by batteries of the solar panels produced at night and on cloudy days the supply of electricity for the home.

Curio House is well insulated to reduce heating and cooling needs, and is equipped with household appliances and energy efficient lights. It also has exterior blinds on the south side that can be adjusted to allow sunlight for warmth and light. As a result of these characteristics of the students expect that the use of electricity by about one third that of a typical American home the same size.

Students focused on the design of a house that is affordable enough for people to live now, and have already found a buyer, since the building will become the first home in a community “green” scheduled for cod out. The design can also be adapted for larger homes or apartments.

The Solar Decathlon takes place every two years and is led by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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