Each Solar Decathlon tour offers education opportunities
by Steven Lincoln
College of Technology Writer/Editor
I took my fourth or fifth tour of the Purdue INHome today. I always learn new things. For example, they are trying to be LEED Gold certified once the competition is done. Many of the materials they have chosen help support that goal.
The lighting of the home is designed to use no more than 600 watts of electricity, using a combination of LED and CFL bulbs.
The circuit board is wired so that each piece using electricity is wired in separately so that they can be monitored remotely. Homeowners can also track the cost of the electricity used by each appliance or machine drawing electricity.
I also like the fact that the mechanical core gets its own station on the tour. A full explanation of the plumbing, electricity, and solar connection is provided. I didn’t get that at any of my other tours, unless I asked specifically.
I ran in to Max and Christine Lemley of Columbus, Indiana, while touring the Team New Jersey home. They are big supporters of energy efficiency and sustainable living. They have no ties to Purdue, but were able to tour the INHome during the summer with the Indiana Renewable Energy Association. They decided to drive to D.C. to experience the full Solar Decathlon.
I’ve also talked to a couple from Oregon who happened upon the Solar Decathlon while they were in the area. And I met two other people from Solar Decathlon China, which will be hosting a competition in 2013. They were surveying teams about ways to improve what is offered on site.
The education tents (no rain there!) are open as well, so I’ve learned a little more about LED and CFL lighting. I’ll be looking for LED bulbs in my local hardware store soon!
My time in D.C. is winding down. I leave Saturday afternoon after attending a reception for sponsors tonight. But I’ll continue to follow what’s going on and how the Purdue team is fairing throughout the rest of the competition.