Cornell University students have erected a house which they like to call ‘Silo House’, as it is reminiscent of grain silo. This solar powered house is quite an attraction in New York State fair, as this one bedroom house makes all the energy from sunlight. If you are a visitor you can tour the house for $2 and if you have some moolah in your pocket, you can go ahead and buy the house for $199,000 and onwards. The house has been designed and constructed for the solar decathlon to be held in October in Washington D.C., where it will compete for the coveted prize with 19 other colleges. It is a single-story structure, resembling three small silos that is connected by a central courtyard and is overhung with the canopy of solar panels. Having only 800 square feet of living space, the students have put into application creative strategies to make it feel larger. Take for example, the living room. It faces the courtyard having a large glass wall made of wood-framed panels. If there is a nice weather, you can fold and push aside the wall.
The bedroom has a floating bed that can be attached to the ceiling when not in use. The kitchen also has an island, having a cover that can be extended to make a table having the seating capacity of eight. The interior of the house is finished with LED lights, local hardwood, high efficiency appliances and a tank-less toilet. 40 photovoltaic panels, each producing up to 200 watts, overhang the entire house. Two power inverters and a computerized distribution panel is tied to the system for feeding electricity to all the electrical things in the house. The sun in solar evacuated tubes is used to heat water. Students have also installed an experimental system that uses heat from the south facing steel wall to heat water. The cylindrical exterior walls are made from special corrugated steel called Cor-Ten, which is designed to “weather” anything with the help of a superficial coat of rust. This house will be de-assembled to carry it to the venue of decathlon. If the house is not sold by October 30th, then it will be auctioned in Ithaca. Most of the cost incurred by the students in building this house has been covered by grants and donations, but selling it is important, so that they can pay for the project. The work for the project started two years ago when a student, Irina Chernyakova came up with the initial design. Nevertheless, the final project is the result of collaboration lead by the team leader, Chris Werner, of Wheeling, W.Va.