Archives for March 2011

Automation Team: Test Box

So far the automation team has focused predominantly on research and construction of the test box. The test box is a box that is small enough to be easily moved but large enough to have small modules installed for testing purposes before similar modules will be installed into the house.  This will allow for us to prove our concepts before any alterations will be made to the house and allow us to finalize designs before implementation.

solar house team test box.jpg

Passive Solar Design Group Update

The Passive
Solar Design group has been working rigorously through the Fall 2010 and Spring
2011 semesters developing a series of energy models that evaluate the performance
of the proposed architectural designs. 
Using the energy modeling program Ecotect Analysis, the team is able to
estimate the effects that specific architectural elements have on influencing
the internal building environment.  That
is, evaluating how key building components, such as thermal mass, affect the
internal temperature, humidity and overall comfort of the building and its

The team has
also been investigating daylighting design with the help of both Revit
Architecture and Ecotect. Using these tools the group is able to evaluate the
amount of daylight received by interior spaces at any time and at any place on
the planet. This allows the group to analyze and recommend the most ideal
placement of windows, overhangs and other shading devices.

The results
of these analyses will be used to direct the design of the upcoming 2013 Solar
House and enhance overall building performance as well as eliminate the costs
associated with poor design decisions. 
These tools are just one of the many reasons why the Missouri S&T
Solar House Team is leading the way in sustainable and energy efficient

Design Charrette

After news that our team would not be participating in the 2011 Solar Decathlon, leaders began to implement a four year design cycle aiming towards the hopeful 2013 Decathlon.  Possibilities of foreign competitions, such as China and Spain, are also being continually discussed.  Initial design consideration led to the development of the team’s new design concept.  As of now this concept is “Industrial Revelation” and showcases modern industrial design, with multipurpose space usage and furnishings.  This concept will be implemented by exposing various mechanical, electrical, and structural systems.  We also hope to to re-purpose several materials to use in our house and avoid any common and unsustainable finishes.

After weeks of initial design within the current groups: Architectural, Passive Solar, Electrical, Mechanical, Structural, and Home Automation, they all came together for a design “charrette”. During this two hour session, members and leaders from all of Missouri S&T’s design subgroups came together to explain their ideas developed throughout the semester.

After having each group lead present to the rest of the team, time was taken to allow members to comment on system integration and potential design considerations, and to brainstorm solutions to these challenges. 

We then headed for the Butler-Carlton Hall atrium where the proposed floor plan for the next house was laid out on the terrazzo floor. This interactive aid helped team members visualize the layout and get a better feeling of space usage and flow. 

We plan to have several design charettes in the future to ensure integration of the groups and a well-balanced house. This isn’t just some pretty box with an HVAC system shoved in and a PV array thrown on the roof – where would the challenge be in that?  We pride ourselves on system integration and interdisciplinary teamwork.

-Benjamin Brannon (Director of Design and Construction)

Science Center

On February 26 and 27, the Solar House Team attended an event at the Science Center.  Most people liked the fact that we are being environmentally friendly.  People were also very interested to see that we are trying to improve the use of solar panels; most asked if solar panels were the way of the future.  They were impressed to hear that our efforts will possibly help change the future of electricity.  While we were there, we manned our station and answered people’s questions as they walked by. Our school definitely stood out over Mizzou because we were more kid friendly.  Some of the kids that stopped by our booth were seniors in high school and we had great recruitment conversations with many of them. 
-Jason Pahl & Brandon Adams 

Night for Science Professionals

At the Night for Science Professionals event, held at Sullivan Middle School, the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center, the Solar House Team, and other design teams were represented by volunteers who answered questions and showed models and displays. Students from the middle school and other community members were encouraged to walk around to the various displays to ask questions about careers, science, and problem-solving. I fielded questions about the solar house SIP walls and evacuated tubes and other design team members talked about the solar car, robot, and rocket. We all answered questions about our respective majors and future fields of occupation and about our school in general, especially our upcoming summer camps.

-Annelise Smith

New on campus? Want to get involved? Check out the PRO Day Resource Fair!

Throughout the spring semester, there are several  PRO (Preview, Registration, and Orientation) Days for students that will begin attending S&T in the fall. During these days, future students have the opportunity to check out all of the groups and organizations on campus at the Resource Fair. 
We were excited for these PRO Days to start so we could show off our new display! There were several interested students who stopped by to hear more about our team and indulge in some renewable energy discussions. 
We hope that these events will continue to be a success so our team can continue to grow and educate ourselves and the public on solar energy and sustainable construction. 

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