Solar Thermal Heating System for a Zero Energy House

EPA Grant Number: SU832513
Title: Solar Thermal Heating System for a Zero Energy House
Investigators: Lee, Stephen R. , Archer, David , Wellman, Liza , Ries, Robert
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University , University of Pittsburgh
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through October 30, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Technical Challenge to Sustainability: The inter-disciplinary team, Pittsburgh Synergy, plans to design and build an 800sf home powered by site-based solar energy systems for the 2005 Solar Decathlon. The house employs a home-based business and related transportation needs, making the demonstration very real and applicable to every American.

Innovative Design Approach: Pittsburgh Synergy has utilized a holistic, integrated design approach to this challenge involving multiple disciplines and multiple institutions. The off-the-shelf, state of the art solar thermal technologies have been innovatively integrated into the design, the building systems and the construction process of the house.

Relationship to P3: The site-based renewable energy systems on the house will simultaneously be exhibiting to the public a high quality of life while demonstrating energy independence with a substantial reduction in global pollution. Related sustainable design issues – water usage, materials and indoor environmental quality – will be on display for the public.

Measuring Results: The predicted result is a 60% solar heating fraction. Data acquisition systems will measure actual energy performance during the competition. Computer simulation will be utilized to predict annual performance and to evaluate the system’s economic and comfort benefits.

P3 as an Educational Tool: On the Mall, it is anticipated that over 150,000 people will visit the Solar Village. After the competition, the house will return to Carnegie Mellon to become the permanent home for the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research. The mission of the Steinbrenner is to coordinate environmental activities on campus and to provide outreach to the community.

Supplemental Keywords:

life-cycle analysis, alternatives, sustainable development, clean technologies, innovative technology, renewable, cost benefit, conservation, environmental assets, engineering, northeast, midatlantic, Midwest, Great Lakes, Pennsylvania, PA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Engineering, pollution prevention, Environmental Engineering, environmentally preferable products, cleaner production, sustainable development, green design, clean technology, net zero energy houses, alternative materials, green home building, pollution prevention design, construction material, architecture, outreach and education, environmentally conscious design

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • Final