The Solar Decathlon is a competition held every four years in Washington D.C. The next Decathlon will be held in October, and twenty universities from around the world will be vying to build this year’s most efficient solar house. I’ll definitely be there to test the bedsprings and scrutinize the efficiency of the homes. But for those who can’t wait, the University of Cincinnati has offered a preview of their solar home, which uses evacuated solar tubes in a unique way.
The evacuated tubes will use thermal energy to cool and dehumidify the house. In other words, hot water will actually be used to provide air conditioning. As a result, the UC team expects to generate four or five times as much hot water as other teams, and this places less reliance on the roof’s photovoltaic panels in case of cloudy weather.
The team also has another design trick up their sleeves: they will be raising the photovoltaic panels slightly off the house’s roof, in order to keep them cool, and thus increasing their efficiency.
See more details about the house on this page.