College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Tour solar house designed and built by ISU students on Aug. 29

AMES, Iowa — After 18 months of hard work, Iowa State University’s Solar Decathletes are ready to show off their achievement: the solar-powered Interlock House, which they designed and built for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., in October.

The team will host an open house for the public from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29 at their construction site, 1220 Southern Hills Drive (off of S. Riverside Drive and Airport Road), Ames. The event is free and open to the public.

Students will be on hand to give tours and discuss the house, which is expected to produce more energy than it consumes.
Features include:

• Rooftop solar panels (photovoltaic modules) that generate electricity to power all electrical devices inside the house

• A solar thermal evacuated tube system used to heat and cool the interior space, and provide domestic hot water

• Radiant floor heating

• Liquid desiccant dehumidifier

• Passive heating and cooling features such as a sun porch and ventilation

• Energy-efficient construction techniques, including R-12 windows, R-48 wall and roof insulation, and airtight construction

• Energy-efficient appliances and lighting

• Universal design, ADA accessible

• Furniture, lighting fixtures and ceramics created by Iowa State students; cabinetry created by students at Des Moines Area Community College

Iowa State was one of 20 teams worldwide selected to compete in the DOE’s Solar Decathlon, a competition involving 10 contests. The house will be disassembled, trucked to Washington, D.C., and reassembled. The 20 houses will be open for public tours, as part of the DOE’s Solar Village on the National Mall, Oct. 8-18.

More information about the project, including directions to the open house, is at


Ulrike Passe, Architecture, (515) 294-7142,

Eric Berkson, Architecture, (301) 523-2429,

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778,