Open house offers last chance to see inside solar home

August 22, 2011

The exterior of the INhome solar house, which is located on McCormick Road, north of Purdue West shopping center. (Purdue University photo)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's INhome solar house will be open to the public Thursday through Saturday (Aug. 25-27).

It will be the last chance to see the inside of the home before it is dismantled and trucked to Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011 competition.

The free open house will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The house is on McCormick Road just north of Purdue West shopping center.

Purdue was one of 20 universities chosen in April 2010 to compete in the Solar Decathlon 2011. The teams, including four from outside the United States, are designing, building and operating affordable, attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered homes.  The houses will be open for public tours on the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington Sept. 23 through Oct. 2.

Work on INhome began in fall 2009. It has involved more than 200 students from six colleges and schools: Technology, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Agriculture, Krannert, and Health and Human Sciences.

The interior of the INhome solar house features an open-plan kitchen-living-dining area, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry room. (Purdue University photo)

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While technology and engineering students have taken the lead on design and construction, agriculture students designed the landscaping. Students from liberal arts have handled an array of the visual aspects, from interior design to graphic design of brochures and team uniforms. And students in hotel and tourism management in health and human sciences have developed menus for two dinner parties that must be hosted at the house during the 10-day competition in Washington. Krannert is handling marketing and communications.

According to DOE competition rules, the house must be net-zero for energy consumption, which means it must produce at least as much energy as it uses. A team will be penalized if a house appraises for more than $250,000. The house also must not be more than 1,000 square feet, not including the garage. Purdue's two-bedroom, one-bath house is 984 square feet. It features an open-plan kitchen-living-dining area and has a utility room.

DOE provides $100,000 to each team. But the costs, including construction, moving the house to Washington and back, and housing the team in Washington, are expected to approach $700,000. A fundraising campaign continues. Donations may be made through the INhome website at

The website also has information on Purdue's team, the house and sponsors.

More information on Solar Decathlon 2011 is available at

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432,  

Source: McKenna Regan, head of marketing and communications for INhome,