This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 31, 2011

Solar Decathlon Entry Uses iPad to Monitor Home

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is participating in its first Solar Decathlon, the upcoming U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, featuring its home "Living Light." Named for its very brightly sunlit double facade glass system, the home's blueprint was inspired by the cantilever barns of southern Appalachia, which have giant eaves to provide shade and a "two-core" design.

The floor plan revolves around the two wooden cores at the base, which allows for an open living space in the center. The home includes one bedroom, one bath, a living room, and a kitchen. More space is available for dining and recreation, along with an outdoor patio area and garden for growing small crops.

The double facade glass system is used for natural lighting and to keep a sealed temperature envelope that allows you to regulate it to your liking, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The facades are built with an inner insulated glass panel and an outer pane with an air barrier, which also holds the windows' blinds.

The real engine of Living Light is in its 10.9-kilowatt solar array atop the roof that also acts as a shading trellis. This array powers all of the electric appliances including an oven, cooktop, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, home entertainment systems (television and sound system), the mini-ductless heat pumps and the ERV, along with the most exciting feature--a home automation system you can run from an iPad. Knoxville expects the home to require just half the electricity generated from the array and suggest using the rest to charge an electric vehicle or even sell back to your utility company.
See the Energy Blog post.