EDUCATION

Solar Decathlon Team Aims to Design Zero-Energy House

Students at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken are one of the 20 school groups participating in the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Solar Decathlon. The competition involves schools from throughout the world and challenges them to create a solar-powered house.

Stevens Professor John Nastasi, who is involved in the Solar Decathlon, said the goal is to create a “zero energy house,” meaning the home is completely self-sustainable. In addition to sustainability, the students also factor in the cost of the energy efficient systems to make the home as affordable as possible. The goal is for the homeowner to recoup the investment in 10 years.

Stevens Institute participated in the competition last year, helping to build a home with green materials that featured a water recycling system, efficient storage and solar power. The current project has similar energy efficient systems, but will also be built to adapt to the homeowners as they age. NJToday Senior Correspondent Desiree Taylor files this report from Hoboken.

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The project is in its early stages. Students said they design the house on the computer and prototypes are created on campus. The next phase of the project is to put the prefabricated pieces of the home together, which will happen in the summer of 2013. Once completed, the team will do a series of tests before sending it to California for the competition.

Whether the Stevens team wins or loses, they plan to showcase the home at a science center to educate the public about energy efficiency.