IIT Bombays Carbon-Neutral Home Shines at the US Solar Decathlon Competition

IIT Bombays Carbon-Neutral Home Shines at the US Solar Decathlon Competition

Imagine a home that produces electricity for future use and runs on zero electricity. This is no longer just a concept as a team of students from IIT Bombay have already fashioned a carbon-neutral, water-neutral and energy-positive two-bedroom home equipped with all the necessary furniture and amenities including illumination and air conditioning. As a result, they recently won second place in the US Solar Decathlon contest. For complete information please read SURFACES REPORTER (SR)'s report.

This amazing team is called "Team SHUNYA", where SHUNYA stands for Sustainable Habitat for an Urbanizing Nation by its Young Aspirants. The team spent 22 months planning and building this project.

Not a futuristic structure but is equipped with all amenities

If you've had your mind set on a high-tech sci-fi abode, it may be time to readjust your outlook.

This 1,367 square feet structure appears average at first glance but is equipped with all that you need - including a refrigerator, water purifier and washing machine - for the quoted rate. 

No gas cylinders or pipe connections are necessary either as the solar panels situated on the rooftop will suffice to supply power for the microwave oven and induction stove. Although the furniture is reused, they have all been renovated from discards.

Challenges

Team leader Prabhat Sharma initially found all contractors amiable to his cause, but on discovering the 90-day limitation, they refused. Undaunted, Sharma continued in his mission; he convinced one contractor to take up the task and set a purpose that motivated them into working beyond their agreed hours. 

The project team conducted site analysis and budgeting, designed electrical and plumbing systems, and pursued sustainability validation without any external support or involvement.

Award-Winning Project

The US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon saw entries from college teams across the world, all tasked with planning and crafting a residence suitable for hot and humid climates. The house had to be energy-efficient, comfortable, adjustable in size, and reasonably priced

Team Shunya was the sole non-North American group to make it to the construction stage of their design. After combing through 16 submissions, the judges bestowed Project Vivaan second place, narrowly missing the first position.

Sustainable Features

Team Shunya has eliminated the need for excessive water usage through the introduction of low-flow fixtures, rainwater collection and a greywater recycling unit. This means that external supplies are only required for cooking and drinking, and you can now experience hot water from the first drop! 

Additionally, rooftop solar panels can be used during the day to power Project Vivaan, stored in battery banks at night or used to produce extra energy to be sold back onto the grid. 

To make life more comfortable, an alternative to air conditioners is provided by a chilled water system while liquid desiccant absorbs atmospheric moisture. 

Furthermore, they've set up an open-source home automation system that can be customised to one's needs; this includes controlling your AC temperature remotely or avoiding peak electricity charges when switching on the appliance. 

Above all, with the price being roughly equal to that of a regular house but with added features such as appliances and an electric car included - electricity bills can be offset and power sales monetised.

Source: Rediff.com

Keep reading SURFACES REPORTER for more such news stories.

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