Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where do old solar homes go?

I have the most dangerous thing in the oven right now: the Barefoot Contessa’s Banana Crunch Muffins. I first made these after a frustrating day when we first moved here in July and they’ve become my go-to baking project. These things will put you in a sugar coma, so take it easy if you make them. I only have a few minutes before I need to check on them again, and I thought I’d get a post out post-haste.

There are about 10 tabs open on my Firefox right now… and three of them are Apartment Therapy articles. I have a problem with AT because I want to read each and every post but they come out way too fast. I am about 747 posts behind, and that’s just from last week I think. One from today that I did manage to read is about a Solar Decathlon house from the 2005 competition designed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) architecture students. It’s now being used by Portsmouth Abbey School, a Catholic high school in Rhode Island founded by Benedictine Monks. In 2006 they added a 164-ft. wind turbine to the campus, and in October of 2008 RISD donated the solar house to their campus to be used for faculty housing.


I love this photo with the wind-turbine- it just seems so right. It’s not clear from the article whether the turbine and house work together, or if the turbine’s energy is used for something else on campus. The house does use photovoltaics, an energy recovery ventilation system, and energy efficient appliances.

For the most part, I like the design of this house, but I do wonder about the longevity of the Solar Decathlon competition. I was part of the very first Solar Decathlon in 2002 as a member of UVa’s team (we placed 2nd overall and 1st in the design competition, not that I’m bragging) and I have to say to say that this house hasn’t deviated much from designs of previous competitions. Maybe this is because the rules and performance requirements are so tight? I’m glad this house is serving a purpose right now. And I can’t wait to visit the houses on the Mall in D.C. for this year’s Solar Decathlon in October- definitely be on the lookout for my write-up on that.

Now for those muffins!

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