Reducing carbon footprints

Posted by
On March 17, 2008

The housing market may be soft, but one neighborhood in Rolla is seeing a building boom. Okay, so it’s really just a little village on campus property with a current population of two. But this is a village of the future, and the site developers are thinking long-term.

The housing market may be soft, but one neighborhood in Rolla is seeing a building boom. Okay, so it’s really just a little village on campus property with a current population of two. But this is a village of the future, and the site developers are thinking long-term.

Later this year, students will begin construction on the fourth solar home in the village. Missouri S&T is one of 20 universities picked by the Department of Energy to receive $100,000 to support the construction of new solar homes. Ultimately, those homes will be entered in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, an event held every-other-year in Washington, D.C.

Three compact houses built for previous Solar Decathlons are currently situated on foundations in Missouri S&T’s Solar Village. Two of the houses are available for rent to students and faculty members. This semester, Rachel Swearingin, a senior in environmental engineering, and Bonnie Bachman, the new chair of interdisciplinary engineering, are renting solar homes from the university.

“I have reduced my carbon footprint considerably,” says Bachman. “What I like about the house is the sun room. I open the windows and doors and the whole house heats up just from the sun exposure as the day proceeds.”

The houses are highly energy efficient. In the summer, the Solar Village generates extra energy that Missouri S&T sells to a utility company.

The new home will be built in the village, but it will be carefully dismantled and trucked to Washington in the fall of 2009. The houses are reconstructed on the National Mall and judged in 10 categories, including architecture, engineering and energy balance. After the competition is over, the Missouri S&T house will be trucked back to Rolla and placed on its original foundation in the village.

Posted by

On March 17, 2008. Posted in Features, Spring 2008

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