Standing amongst some of the most recognizable buildings in the Nation's capitol, the Living Light solar house welcomed swarms of visitors as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival this summer. The zero-energy home received an 8th place finish in last year's Solar Decathlon, but won the chance to share its state-of-the-art design throughout the state of Tennessee. An incredible 1 million people visited the home and another 16,000 toured its interior, including a number of government organizations, school groups, and Smithsonian researchers. The next and last stop on the solar house's tour is Chattanooga, so you better get there quick!
The completely self-sustaining home uses passive building techniques and automatic controls to produce its energy needs. As the sun rises, shades are automatically raised to let daylight into the space. As night falls, lights within the windows turn on and brighten to provide ambient light, while discreet task lighting increases the wattage for cooking, reading or other activities. Smart systems also efficiently control the air conditioning, and an energy recovery ventilator harvests energy through the double facades on both ends to supply the house with passively warmed or cooled fresh air.
The Living Light house proved its durability when a powerful storm hit the Washington, D.C. area three weeks ago, leaving thousands of residents and festival-goers in the dark. The solar home not only maintained power during the entire outage, but it even produced twice the energy it needed for its regular daily functions!
The house can be found in Chattanooga’s Renaissance Park for the remainder of July, and open for private and public tours.
images via Living Light facebook