Evacuated Tubes Installation!

Let me take you back to just after the 2009 competition: Finals are coming up, and then it’s winter break! Not only that, but the RFP is out for the 2011 competition and we are focusing our energy on producing a competitive entry. After the report is complete and submitted, we are notified that a 3D model and a display board describing our concept are also required. In the mean time, the house foundation is not yet completed, and the home sits in storage. The foundation is completed, and the house is moved to its home in the Solar Village on S&T’s campus during the summer of 2010. A few team members are hired to work with Physical Facilities to get the village up and running- a lot important projects are finished that summer. Over the next school year we focus on training new team members and working on a plan for the 2013 proposal. Many students perfect their practical skills by working on getting the automation system and photovoltaic panels up and running throughout the school year while staying on top of other team projects and submittals. However, all of the houses systems are still not running.

We have been privledged to have 4 previous Solar Decathlon houses to learn from. With the 2009 house being office and research space for the team, we can work on anything needed without disturbing any residents. A few dedicated members worked on installing the Apricus evacuated tube system for hot water from the sun in June 2011. We are proud to say that the most of the ’09 systems are now up and running. During the construction phase of competition installation of systems is often rushed and managed by a few experience members. Now we can teach new members about installation and operation- and take as much time as we need! 
2011-06-08_20-27-08_395.jpg Apricus Installation_2011

SPACE Architecture Tour

Members from the team recently toured SPACE Architecture in St. Louis in order to learn more from the companies and people in our own region who are implementing green building techniques. The company put a lot of effort into making their new office sustainable. They renovated a brick building on a brownfield site. The building features a superinsulated wall system, and radiant heating and cooling. The radiant heating features pipes running underneath the concrete floor, (right-hand image) supplied with hot water from the solar thermal array on the roof. The radiant cooling system (left-hand image) was designed to specifically meet the needs of SPACE and is supplied with cold water from the geothermal system beneath the parking lot. The panels were welded and assembled in the office.  
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Radiant Cooling_1.JPG Floor Window.JPG

We learned a lot from our tour at SPACE architecture, and appreciate their enthusiasm in sharing their heating and cooling techniques with us. If you know of any houses or buildings the team would be interested in touring and learning from, don’t hesitate to contact us at sunhome@mst.edu. You can learn more about SPACE at their website: http://www.space-stl.com/

Kummer Student Design Center Dedication

On Friday, May 20th, the official dedication of the brand new Kummer Student Design Center took place. The event kicked off at noon with a VIP luncheon to honor the building’s major donors. The “three wisemen”, the ones who spearheaded the project, were long time friends and alumni Richard Arnoldy (CE’69), Robert Brinkmann (CE’71), and Barry Koenemann (CE’70). A donation of $1.25 million from Fred (CE’55) and June Kummer topped off the $2.75 million needed to complete construction. 
5_20 Dedication   Anna_5/20

After the luncheon, the dedication was opened to the public to take tours and talk to the student design team representatives and check out the latest projects. The completed center includes a large fabrication area, machining shop, composites lab, electronics lab, student design suite, kitchen, meeting room, executive offices, and commercial retail space. 
The Solar House Team is thankful to all of the donors who made the Kummer Student Design Center a success. Thank you!

Earth Day Celebration

April 22, 2011 marked the 10th Annual Rolla Earth Day Celebration. Despite the looming threat of rain, the sun persevered! Over 400 local elementary school kids excitedly toured the Solar Village, guided by students from the Missouri S&T Solar House Team. Many curious questions were answered including, “How do solar panels work?”. One team member answered, “It’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sitting in the sun. When the sun’s rays hit the peanut butter, it melts and goes through the jelly. This movement is what creates electricity.” (For all you sciency folks, this can be equated to an electron crossing a p-n junction.)

After the hustle and bustle of the morning’s tours, families and other Earth Day attendees walked through the homes to satisfy their curiosity for sustainable living. To set up a personal tour of the Solar Village, contact Julie Wilson (wilsonjulie@mst.edu) at the Institute for Environmental Excellence (iee.mst.edu). 


While not what we hoped for, the team walked away from the P3 awards with an Honerable Mention, which puts us in the top 50% of the P3 groups.  As less than 10% of the groups were awarded Phase II, we are very proud of our achievements.

EPA P3 Day 2

The DC Chameleon Automation team is in their second day of judging and public presentations.  The second and final group of judges came by to hear what the group had to say earlier this morning.  Many good questions were asked but overall the judges seemed impressed.  The team is waiting earnestly for Sunday night to hear the results! They are hard at work presenting their project- no time to slack off (except for the occasional cheesecake…). 

Solar House goes to the EPA P3 Expo!

After a quick run in with TSA questioning if we were transporting a baby seal, the home automation team made it to Washington DC to present their project in hopes of winning a Phase II EPA P3 grant.

Back on the same National Mall that is home to the Solar Decathlon every other year, the team has set up a display of their project along with 50 other P3 teams from accross the country.  The first round of judging went well and the team is getting ready for the final round tomorrow.  The public is invited to view the exhibits Saturday and Sunday before the awards ceremony.

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Dr. Baur, Ben Brannon and Austin Murdock at the P3 Expo

National Award for Innovations to Curb Climate Change on Campus




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Via National Wildlife Federation:

(April 13) – Missouri University of Science & Technology of Rolla, MO has
been honored as a winner of the National Wildlife Federation’s  annual competition Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus. This award program recognizes
U.S. schools that are designing and implementing creative approaches to advance
sustainability on campuses.
about 2 percent of the nation’s carbon footprint (as large as an average state)
and educating 19 million future world leaders each year, the nation’s colleges
and universities are ideal places for innovation to spark a clean energy
revolution and produce green jobs for the U.S. 
S&T is one of six winning schools that were chosen from a national pool of


S&T Solar House team students are pushing the boundaries of sustainable
technology and engineering innovation by creating designs for energy-efficient
solar powered homes.  Their designs will
compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition held on
the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


Rolla, the Solar House team model will join previously Decathlon entries in the
Missouri S&T Solar Village, showcasing the viability of solar options to
the student body and local community. Students live in the houses full time
with energy efficient appliances and net zero metering which allows them to
sell energy back to the grid. Tours allow the public to see that they can live
comfortably in a home where they can make the most of the electricity that can
be harnessed from the sun.


on the Solar House has been a priceless experience that I know will benefit me
in my future career,” said student Patrick Williams. “By working on an
interdisciplinary team we learn how to integrate technology with design and
function while also learning business and leadership skills that are


winning schools in the Chill Out contest include:
Central Carolina
Community College (Pittsboro, NC), Baylor University (Waco, TX), Manhattan
Comprehensive Night and Day High School, Montreat College of North Carolina,
and Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA).


“America’s institutions of higher learning are vital
in fostering leadership and innovation in new technologies and management
systems for lowering greenhouse gas emissions on campuses and in their
surrounding communities across the nation,” says Kevin Coyle, Vice President
for Education and Training for National Wildlife Federation.  “As our
society’s youth will face the harsh realities of climate change over their
lifetimes, they must have a voice in tackling the challenges of their future.”

The impressive efforts
of the six winners will be broadcast in NWF’s Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus webcast on April 13.
The colleges will also receive a monetary award from
the National Wildlife Federation to continue exploring innovative clean energy
and climate action initiatives.  This
year’s webcast will be co-hosted by Tara Platt (voice and live-action actress)
and Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Superman on CW’s Legion of Superheroes),
The free program will celebrate
this year’s award winners and showcase initiatives occurring on campuses across
the nation. The webcast is an excellent organizing tool and will be available
for viewing on-demand after April 13.  We
encourage campuses to pick the day and time that works best for them through
the spring and also use the webcast as a great welcome back-to-school event in
the fall.


“The passion that comes
from these students, faculty and staff for a sustainable world invigorates the
rest of society to continue the fight towards a clean energy economy,” says Jen
Fournelle, Chill Out Manager for National Wildlife Federation. “Chill
is an incredible learning opportunity for campus leaders to see what
others are doing and initiate positive changes in their own community. Academic
institutions are an integral part of society–if they don’t lead the charge
against climate change, who will?”

Campus leaders all across the country are encouraged to host events on their
campuses and in their wider communities to watch the webcast.  The program will be part of a series of
events scheduled on hundreds of campuses across the country building excitement
in the week leading up to Earth Day 2011. Visit
www.campuschillout.org for details on hosting a live screening party and
to view the webcast.

Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus is proudly supported by The Kendeda Fund, and other partners
including Climate Counts, AASHE, Energy Action Coalition, Jobs for the Future,
Campus Conservation Nationals, Earth Day Network and more.

National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program
has been an integral leader in the campus greening movement since 1989. In the
last two decades they’ve built a library of campus-tailored resources to help
thousands of students, faculty and staff at more than one-third of all colleges
and universities in crafting programs, incentives, curricula and best
practices.  As the climate crisis in our
country grows, Campus Ecology has also evolved to help campuses tackle the
challenges of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The nation’s 4,100
colleges and universities educate as many as 19 million students in any given
year, and NWF is committed to partnering with them and fostering the seeds of
creativity growing in some our nation’s most important hotbeds of innovation in
confronting the climate crisis.


National Wildlife Federation’s mission is to inspire
Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future
. Visit www.nwf.org.





Contact:  Jennifer Fournelle at 703-438-6002 or fournellej@nwf.org.    

   Anna Osborne, Missouri University of Science
& Technology at

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