For the Architecture contest of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, teams are required to…
The INhome, Purdue University's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry, offers a realistic and balanced vision for ultra-efficient housing. The INhome—short for Indiana home—is an innovative, yet practical, house that meets the needs of a typical Midwestern consumer in today's cost-competitive residential market.
The INhome blends technological innovation with functional aesthetics to create a living space that appeals to homeowners. It is practical and cost-effective because of its reliance on passive design, which uses natural processes to reduce heating, cooling, and lighting needs. The Midwestern-inspired INhome demonstrates some of the many ways to live sustainably without sacrificing quality or comfort.
Although the exterior of the INhome could blend in well in a typical Midwestern neighborhood, the house's design includes many special features, such as:
A self-watering biowall with vertically arranged plants
Interior finishes that contain pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content
A multi-process air purification system that removes airborne contaminants.
The INhome exhibits a number of efficiency technologies in its mechanical systems—all of which can be effectively and economically implemented in residential applications. These include:
An air-to-air heat pump that serves as the primary heating and cooling source
A heat pump hot water heater that uses the ambient air inside the house to produce hot water
Carefully placed ductwork that allows for conservation of warm and cool air as it is distributed throughout the house.
The INhome's target client is a young professional couple, currently without children, in the market for a home in Indiana. The house, which is divided into private and public spaces, features a master bedroom with access to a west-facing porch. The full bathroom includes two sinks so multiple residents can use the space simultaneously. An extra room provides space for a home office or second bedroom.
After the Solar Decathlon, the INhome will be placed in an existing neighborhood in Lafayette, Indiana, as part of a broader revitalization effort. The team will work with a nonprofit community organization so that a local family can live in it. Although the INhome will be a private residence, it will also be used for educational outreach and long-term monitoring to validate its performance.
Description from the architects