Although the competition states that our house is to be designed for two people to live in, we essentially have three different “clients”. The first was created by students from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, as part of the Marketing Contest for the Solar Decathlon. After doing extensive research, they concluded that the largest market available to us was none other than “Baby Boomers.” The second client we procured was Powdermill Nature Reserve, who will be receiving our house for permanent installation after the competition is over. The third, and most important client to us as a team, was the Public…before, during and after the competition.
As we designed the house as you see it, we thought about the ways in which we could inform the public about the numerous benefits of living a sustainable life, while providing a basic education of the technology we have used. Even if you do not order yourself a full array of solar panels, we hope that people who visit our house can learn smaller ways to decrease their environmental footprint while maintaining a good quality of life. For example, replace a few light bulbs with compact fluorescents, or if you have to replace an appliance, try to buy one that has an “Energy Star.” Each person can help to make our earth a little cleaner and showing people how they can contribute is the most important part of the Solar Decathlon.
In addition to the Greenscape and Green Roof, students from the School of Art have also created our Global Gardens. The plantings in these three gardens symbolize the current and future land-usages throughout the world. Through these gardens you can begin to visualize exactly how much land is paved in asphalt, how much is used for agriculture and so on. What will our world look like in 50 years if we continue with our current levels of deforestation and paving of parking lots?
Through collaboration with the School of Design we have been able to bring forth what we hope is a comprehensive and complete package of graphic displays, interactive tour elements and the website you are currently using. If you cannot join us in Washington, D.C. for the actual competition please visit our house at Powdermill Nature Reserve. Once the house is reconstructed, it will be open to the public as part of their new educational facilities.