In the house of the future, built-in sensors will measure the weather outside and automatically adjust indoor air temperatures. Homeowners will be able to monitor the system with their smartphones.
Using a weather station funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and installed at Missouri S&T’s Solar Village, researchers began work this fall to make the home of the future the home of today, and save homeowners up to 40 percent in the cost of cooling their homes.
Joon-Ho Choi, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, is leading the project with funding from a P3 (people, prosperity, planet) grant from the EPA.
The team will install a small weather station — complete with wind turbine — outside one of the houses at the Solar Village. The weather station will measure the four main factors that impact indoor climate — solar radiation, air temperature, humidity and wind — and communicate information to a computer inside the solar house. Small sensors will be placed throughout the house to monitor conditions. The data will allow the house to control its own temperatures and conserve significant amounts of energy.
“It takes out the human factor,” says Choi, who predicts that houses will one day be equipped with windows that open and close on their own, depending on weather conditions. “It will enhance human comfort while saving energy without additional cooling.”
Choi’s group will travel to Washington, D.C., next spring to share their results and compete for an additional grant of $90,000, which would enable them to take the design to real-world applications.