Benefits of a Class Demonstration in Solar Village


A class act blower test was conducted in the 2002 Solar House. The demonstration was put on by the ArchE 372- Residential Renewable Energy Design class. The purpose of this special visit was to teach the students about how a blower test is conducted but then also be able to set up a blower test as part of a case study in the course. The reason why the students need to learn how to use this apparatus is that it will help them tell homeowners where air leakage is in the home. Air leakage is a big source of wasted energy. It could be a waste with air conditioning or heat because of the fact that systems must work extra hard to keep that stable ideal temperature within the home. Wasted energy equates to wasted money and by conducting this test homeowners face savings all around and create a more comfortable environment at the same time.

The students used a Retrotec house leakage analysis system. The typical blower door set up consists of a temporary door panel that seals within a door frame. All other doors and windows must be closed when this test is being conducted. A fan within the temporary door is stabilized and is able to measure the airflow. A two-channel gauge that measures pressure helps with calculations. Create a negative pressure on the inside of the home and push the positive to the outside. The pressure imbalance gets measured and can help determine the size of the leak. Fan speeds can be controlled but when everything is set up the fan must be spinning fast for proper results to be read. Soon enough you will feel air seeping into the home from the leak points as its getting sucked in from the outside.

The 2002 home had a lot of air leakage around the seams of the door. Standing in the house while this test was occurring students could physically feel the drafts of air.  The weather stripping had aged and worn down too much but thanks to this test, more energy awareness has been made. To immediately resolve this energy loss and leakage problem the students made some adjustments. At the same time as running the test they applied duct tape and tissue to line up the door. Immediately, results could be seen on the measurements of the gauge towards a positive direction. The students recommended that once a year homeowners check the weather stripping around doors and windows. There are nice seals that can be used but when in a pinch, tape works to seal off a door. Another method along with rolling up a towel and laying it along the bottom crack of the door is to caulk any stationary house components like window frames. Keeping up on energy savings leads to a happy eco-friendly home!!!!!

Retrotec blower system ready to be unrolled!!

       Retrotec blower system ready to be unrolled!!


Shayne Heskin working hard to learn how to conduct a Blower Test!!

Shayne Heskin working hard to learn how to conduct a Blower Test!!


Close up photo of gauge being used in 2002 solar house.

Close up photo of gauge being used in 2002 solar house.

Solar Village Green House Highlight

Lavender is something of a last minute add to the Solar Village Green House but has really been a hit. This plant will actually emit a nice warm aroma and acts as a natural perfume so to say. It truly makes the green house more inviting because every time one opens the door they get a good whiff of lavender. The seeds taste as good as they smell. You can add it to vanilla ice cream or even plane yogurt. This combination will give you a smile for the day. Another tip is to collect the seeds and make sure they are dry. Then put them in a little mesh baggy and tie off with a bow. Put this in your car for a nice inviting natural air freshener. The fragrance lasts forever and has not faded out on me after a year. This acts as a great little goody bag for whatever function you may have. The all natural car fragrance that lasts forever.

Ingredient list for Lavender Frozen Yogurt just blend all together and serve:

Plain yogurt 3/4 cup

Blueberries 1/4 cup

Almond Milk 2 cups

Lavender 20 little flowers

Honey 1 tablespoon

Ice cubes 5 big ones

Natural Car Fragrance!

Natural Car Fragrance!

Lavender Frozen Yougurt

   Lavender Frozen Yogurt




Actual Food From Solar Village Green House

College students really can cook gourmet in no time at all. Students can eat healthy, and organically. All you need to do is provide some tender loving care to some potted plants and voila instant dinner. The solar village tenants simply potted some plants and put it in a green house. Anybody can do the same with some veggies and a sunny spot. In this mix up we have tomatoes, peppers, oregano, chives and parsley. To create some stir fry magic simply chop up various vegetables you grow and mix with olive oil in a pan. Stir it over medium heat until a little bit of a browning effect occurs. Put the vegetable medley over cooked rice, add some various herbs with chicken and a healthy dinner is what you have. Say good bye to the mac and cheese and hello to luxury living!

Stir Fry Love!!

Stir Fry Love!!

Pleasures of using the Sun for Gardening!!

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The Solar Village has a new house in town and that’s a Green House. Watch out Chameleon House this puppy is in competition for the hotness factor!!! Plants have filled this baby up from top to bottom. Its filled with all types of herbs ranging from mint, oregano, basil, chives, dill and parsley. There are many places to check out ideas for what to do with herbs but let me give you just a few pointers. With mint you can make a tea, mint julep, mojito and the Solar Village favorite is mint brownies. Make sure you are 21 for some of those ingredients. Be sure to mash up more sprigs of mint than you think is fair because it will cut down on the strong taste of gin. I prefer the kick of vodka with mint. Parsley is something tasty to add to salads and even an omelet or two.  Dill has a little bit of a bitter taste but can add some zing to a soup.  Chives is an herb that has a little bit of an onion taste to it and is perfect to add to some lunch sandwiches. Basil could be used for fish and chicken. Making the decision to grow herbs on your own will be rewarding. They grow relatively quickly and are fairly hardy. When you start to have too many fresh herbs, simply dry them out. Then place them in jars to establish your own personal spice rack. Feel free to post in comment section any cool recipe ideas you have from utilizing garden herbs!!!  Post by Julie Glenn

Solar Living

So what’s it like to live in a Solar Village? I for one am having a fantastic experience. My name is Anna Osborne and I’m the Director of Public Relations for the Missouri S&T Solar House Team. Thanks to the Office of Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engagement (OSE3) I get to live in the 2005 solar house this semester. The other two houses are occupied by David George (Project Manager for the Solar House Team) and the Oerther family (Dr. Oerther- professor of Environmental Engineering at S&T). 

This summer I worked as a research intern at Purdue University in Indiana. So when my lease started my parents moved my stuff in for me (so nice of them, right?) and took the opportunity to use my house as a little vacation get away from St. Louis. As soon as I moved in, I took the opportunity to learn more about how the house works passively. You know what? It was designed very well! The size and shape allows it to be easily cooled by cross ventilation- especially at night when the temperature drops. I can cool the house down, then close the windows and blinds during the day and it keeps its temperature pretty well below 84 degrees. Some days it gets too hot and  I had to turn on the AC to keep things comfortable, but overall- I’ve only had it on for a handful of days over the past 4 weeks. 

Making Ice Cream.jpg Clotheline.jpg

What else do you do in a Solar Village? Well, make homemade hand-churned ice cream! I got a churn for my birthday and tested it out on some experimental vegan ice cream. It was so so, definitely different from normal ice cream. Weather permitting, I also dry my clothes on the clothes lines David put up in the back of the 2002 house. 
Overall, I am really enjoying my time here at the Village. On a side note, since I graduate this December, OSE3 is looking for a tenant to take over my lease beginning in January 2012. If you are interested, or want to learn more, e-mail Julie Wilson (

Living in the Solar Village

Can students live in the Solar Village?
Yes any student can live in the Solar Village. Because it is on campus, is also counts as Campus Approved Housing for Freshman and Sophmore students who are required to live on campus. The leases typically run June 1-May 31.
The Solar Village is first open to members of the solar house team. If no one from the Solar House team wants to live there, it is then open to members of the members of the Student Deisgn and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC, After that the house is available to the entire campus. The selection process has never left the SDELC.
For the 2008-2009 year, we will have three houses available for rent. If you would like more information, contact the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center in the 112 Engineering Research Lab (behind Computer Science).

Master Picture Index

I am trying to put together a master folder of all the pictures taken of our house before, during and after competition. If you have ANY pictures, please drop me an e-mail

University Name Change

For anyone out there who doesn’t know, the university is changing from UMR to the Missouri University of Science and Technology or Missouri S&T for short.

To distinguish UMR from the other University of Missouri campuses; to reflect the university’s national mission; to broaden market share for the best students nationally, and to enhance the university’s reputation.

Effective immediately please know that all of our websites and e-mail address have changed from to For the time being will work, but is soon to be disabled.
Main Website:

Structure Completed on 07 Solar House

Thermocore of Missouri installed the structure of the 2007 Solar House in just 2 days. They started Monday, February 26th with a little trouble from the boom truck. It got stuck in the mud and we were not able to start until about 10:30am. After that, we had trouble getting the SIP panels off the trailer, they are heavy and the boom truck is… well… old. Once we finally got the SIPs off the trailer there was only one more hang up, the boom truck was not tall enough to lift a long stud above the north wal. Tuesday was an even more interesting day… school was cancelled because of a bomb threat, so we had a lot more students able to come out and work on the house. The entire structure was completed around 1pm. That night a few students stayed around till 9pm to wrap the house for a little weather resistance.

This is around 11am, just after we got the boom truck out of the mud.

Here is the boom truck tipping because it can’t lift the SIPs off the trailer.

Here is a large wall being moved into place on the subfloor.

The north and east walls below 8 feet are installed. Notice the sponsors banner on the left. Thanks Sponsors! We can’t do this with out you! By the way… we are still in need of money and product donations. Email, call 573-341-6794, or send a check made out to UMR with a memo of Solar House and send it to:
112 ERL
1870 Miner Circle
Rolla, MO 65401

Check out all the blue boxes on that wall. Thats for the home automation.

This is the progress of the house after day 1.

This is the last panel!

The structure is done! I really like this design.

Here is a view of the space where the operable glass wall will stand. It will follow the curve of the roof.

2007 Solar House Takes Shape

The walls and roof of the 2007 Solar House will be installed Monday, February 26th and Tuesday, February 27th. Thermocore of Missouri will be at the Solar Village raising the roof. Come on by and see the third installment in the UMR Solar Village. The following pictures are from the 2005 installment.