UI Students Show Off Solar-Powered Home in Energy Competition
University of Illinois students are taking part in a competition where they are presenting a solar-powered home that they have designed and constructed. It's part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, an event that has attracted students from 20 universities around the world.
Graduate student Beth Neuman is the project manager for the U of I's team. She said her team's entry is designed to serve as an immediate replacement for people whose homes were destroyed by a tornado.
"Last year, multiple tornadoes came through Central Illinois, and we actually visited Streator, Illinois, and they were hit by a tornado, and a lot of families were affected by that," Neuman said. "So, we sort of wanted to focus on a market that was closer to home, and help people in our own community."
Neuman said the portable home can be shipped in two units by truck, with solar panels mounted on the roof. She estimates the cost for a single home at around $260,000. However, she said if it was mass produced, it would be more affordable. Neuman said architecture, affordability, and energy balance are just some of the factors that each home will be judged on in the competition.
The houses in the Solar Decathlon are currently on display at the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. A winner will be announced Oct 1.