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Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses

Purdue University, INhome

Photo: DOE

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Purdue University, INhome

A high-tech yet practical-minded abode that's firmly in touch with its Midwest roots, first-time contender Purdue University's INhome (short for Indiana home), is "designed for a typical Midwestern consumer in today's cost-competitive residential market." Still, you needn't be a Hoosier to appreciate this net-zero energy home's impressive laundry list of green features including a 9kW solar system, SIP (structurally insulated panel) construction, an air-to-air heat pump, an energy recovery ventilator, ample outdoor living space and a nifty, indoor air quality-improving biowall that "that utilizes plants placed in a vertical wall that remove harmful chemicals that can accumulate in homes that are tightly sealed like the INhome." Post-Solar Decathlon, INhome will be placed in a residential neighborhood in Lafayette, Ind., where it will become a private residence of, ideally, a young professional couple who are without children and don't mind their digs being subject to long-term performance monitoring.