Better Living…Through SOLAR

For more than two years, a group of Washington State University students in architecture, construction management, interior design, and engineering designed and built a solar house, including all of its systems, from the ground up. In September 2005, they transported the house to Washington, D.C., to take part in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall. WSU was one of only 18 schools from around the world—and the only school from the Northwest—to participate. Sponsored by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab, the competition required students to plan and build a 650-square-foot home and provide it with all the modern conveniences, including heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, hot water, lighting, appliances, and communications—powered entirely by the sun. As students did laundry, fixed dinners, and washed dishes in them, the houses were judged on their energy production, efficiency, and design.