Astronomy

Biology

Chemistry

Computer Science

Earth Science

Engineering

Math

Microbiology

Neuroscience

Optics

Physics

*****

Espańol

Sign-up for FTK Bulletin

Optics
  

Future of Solar Living

WASHINGON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Each year crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for a look at that latest in innovative, high-tech, solar powered homes. But these houses are not for sale. What you see here could end up in your home in a few years.

You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.

Odd shapes, odd sizes, odd look! These are the homes of the future … covered in solar panels, giant greenhouse-like homes, homes with pyramid style roofs. They're all unique, livable, and part of a competition called the solar decathlon.

Twenty college teams from around the world compete to build the most attractive and energy efficient solar-powered homes. Architect students, and electrical engineer students show off their unique designs and technologies.

"You can close your house or change the position of the sunscreens or the insulation panels depending on the weather conditions so your house can remain as energy efficient as possible," Corey McCalla, an architecture student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., told Ivanhoe.

"We have a passive heating house," Eric Davis, an electrical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wis., said. "It will heat up just by having people in the house."

"We have a really interesting product," Shengyin Xu, an architecture student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., said. "It's a product called electrochromic glass, and what happens is it self tints with the application of a little bit of electricity."

Each home must produce enough electricity and hot water from the sun to perform normal functions of a home. Teams use solar panels, special window coatings that let light in, while reflecting heat into the room, special foam insulation that make homes more comfortable and quieter while saving energy.

The houses must be zero energy homes, meaning each house must consume the same amount of energy it puts out. A home's curb appeal and livability are also judged.

"What we wanted to be able to do is to generate an energy producing environment on the outside and on the inside something that was warm and felt like you wanted to live in it," Ulrike Passe, an assistant professor of architecture at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, said.

It’s the making of solar powered green generation we can all live with.

Each team receives $100,000 from the department of energy to design, build and operate the solar powered homes. The homes can be built to suit your needs, prices range from $250,000 to $500,000, depending on the house. For a complete list of winners and scores go to www.solardecathlon.org.

The Optical Society of America, The Materials Research Society, and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Tom Welch
U.S. Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20585
(202) 586-4316
thomas.welch@hq.doe.gov

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
IEEE
Pender McCarter
IEEE http://www.ieee.org

IEEE-USA http://www.ieeeusa.org

p.mccarter@ieee.org

Optical Society of America
Washington, DC 20036-1023
(202) 223-8130
http://www.osa.org

Materials Research Society
Warrendale, PA 15086-7573
(724) 779-3003

http://www.mrs.org

webmaster@mrs.org


This Month's TV Reports
Smarter, Safer Cars

There are six million car accidents each year, but researchers are trying to change that by building a car that adapts to your driving habits.

 

Future of Living Solar

They are high-tech and solar powered! Solar homes are not what they used to be. We’ll show you the latest and greatest designs.

 

Life on Mars

Two new discoveries on the Red Planet have scientists asking …is there life on Mars? What does lightening and water have to do with the answer?

 

Detecting Toxins in the Sea

A tea bag could save thousands of sea life from death and save you from getting sick. We’ll show you how.

 

Medical First! Windpipe Transplant

Meet the first person in the world to have a windpipe transplant. Her own stem cells saved her life

 

Targeting Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Now a new cancer therapy is targeting tumors with fewer side effects.

 

Giving Parkinson’s Patients a Voice

Parkinson’s disease affects 1.5 million people in the United States. Ninety percent of those people have a hard time talking. A new technology is helping them speak up and be heard.

 

Diagnosing Heart Attacks before they Strike

It’s a new high tech medical device that can diagnose a heart attack before you, or even the doctor, knows its happening.

 

First New Treatment for Lupus in 50 Years

No more pain … less fatigue! A new drug for Lupus could be the best treatment for the disease in nearly 50 years.

 

Tracking the Flu

When the flu hits, your next move could impact millions! A new research tool can predict how fast and how far the virus will spread.

 

Cleaning up Hospitals

Two million hospital-acquired infections happen each year. The number of infections could be cut in half with better hand washing by medical staff. We’ll show you a new device that makes sure everyone has germ-free hands.

 

Testing Chili Peppers

How hot is too hot? Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew before biting into your next pepper? Science may hold the answer to saving you from a burning mouth.

 

Prior Reports
A joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics.
  Ivanhoe Broadcast News
2745 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 740-0789
http://www.ivanhoe.com

American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 19740-3843
(301) 209-3100
http://www.aip.org/dbis
  P.O. Box 865
Orlando, Florida 32802
scitech@ivanhoe.com
 
  © 2010 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.  
DBIS