In Summary…

Another school year is over and everyone on the SDH team has successfully made it through another semester.

This year has been an incredibly productive year for the enterprise and especially the SDH team.  A description of some of our projects follows.

  • We created a thermal model to use as a tool to predict how updates to the house will improve the energy efficiency.  This will help us justify improvements to the house before we implement them.
  • Solar sizing and solar location research was conducted – over the summer we plan to install 10 kW of solar panels that will provide electricity to the house.
  • We looked into water usage of the appliances in the house by conducting flow rate testing and found out that most of the sinks, showers, and toilets use a lot of water.  We plan on replacing these faucets with low flow devices next semester.
  • An inventory of the light bulbs was completed.  We will be replacing all of the incandescent bulbs with more efficient LED bulbs and we predict that over $1100 in electricity costs will be saved each year from this change.
  • We determined the energy usage and operation costs of all of the appliances at the house and we will be replacing these with Energy Star certified replacements, which will further help us reduce electricity usage.
  • Blower testing was performed in the house, which showed us the locations of the largest heat leaks.  Windows and the chimneys are the largest sources of heat loss, so we will seal the windows and chimneys more thoroughly and eventually we would like to replace the existing windows.
  • Finally, we have finalized plans for five students to live in the house next year.  They are a great group who are very enthusiastic about sustainable living, so we are excited to see what they are able to contribute to the house next year!

So, as you can see, we’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.  This summer and fall will be a busy time for the SDH team.  That being said, most of the team is heading in separate directions for the summer, so this will probably be the last time you hear from us until classes start back up in the fall!  When anything exciting happens over the summer in regards to the house, we will try to keep you updated.  Thanks for following along with our progress this year!