By Dorothy Cheng
The Bell Museum of Natural History is opening a new exhibit on October 16 called "Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature." This exhibit will focus on innovative building technologies and strategies. There will be a number of different components - graphics, computer games, mock shelters - but I think the most exciting part of the exhibit will be the ICON solar house.
One of the competitive project teams in the College of Science and Engineering is the solar house team, which competed in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon in 2009. Students from the College of Science and Engineering, College of Design, and College of Continuing Education worked together for two years to design and build a solar house on campus.
In the summer of 2009, they transported the house to Washington D.C., where they competed in a solar decathlon. The U of M's ICON solar house took first place in lighting design, first place in engineering, and fifth place in the overall international competition.
Now, this house is being reconstructed across the street from the Bell Museum to be a part of their exhibit. I wasn't on campus last year to see the ICON house when it was initially built, so I'm really excited to walk through it!
Check out this video to learn more about the design and construction of the house: