March Madness

Well March is here and the students at Appalachian State are in full gear in all aspects of our house’s construction towards its journey to the competition in September. We just recently found out that the Solar Decathlon has been placed back on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and we would love to thank everyone that voiced their opinions and concerns about that competition being moved off of the Mall. After further consideration and persuasion the National Parks Department has awarded a permit to the DOE for the competition to take place in the National Mall at West Potomac Park. The site is nestled between the FDR and Thomas Jefferson Memorials on the West Potomac Park Peninsula. The competition dates have remained the same allowing house visits to the public for free from September 23rd to October 2nd. Again, thank you to everyone who helped get this great competition back on an International stage that will be seen worldwide and help increase the impact to the importance of sustainable energy and our society’s future.

Our construction bay is in full steam working on three separate projects for the house simultaneously. Our design engineers have been first testing our Flex Space and its different construction options. The Flex Space is approximately 120 sqft consisting of a bedroom and a half bath. This space is a key feature to the Homestead in that it allows the homeowner to add or subtract conditioned square footage to the home as needed with no major construction. Our Flex Space sits at the end of our Grand Porch adding additional space to our 1000 sqft home as a guest bedroom. The Flex Space also consists of a flat green roof to help with indoor comfort control and possible rainwater collection. With our design our team will be able to completely construct this Flex Space at our indoor location and have it ready for simple transport and quick set up at the event.

Also under construction is our Solar Thermal Sky light design. Graduate student Joe Sizemore is leading the project with an innovative design combining solar thermal concentration and on-demand water heating using phase change materials. It is definitely the first of its kind seen by any of the students here at the university and has great potential already in the preliminary testing phases. Most of the details of the design are confidential and will be revealed during the competition so book your hotel rooms and come see this innovative design in action.

Make sure you use your experienced internet searching skills and check out all the articles and videos that are out on our Solar Homestead project. Check out Buildapedia. Com for an overview of each team and a feature on our Homestead Project and behind the scenes interviews with our original eight students who got the project rolling. Full on construction of the main home should begin in the next month and our live webcam should be up and running soon so stay tuned for more information.

“Home is the place, when you have to go there; they have to take you in.” Robert Frost