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KU students building a zero-energy house

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) – KU is one of 20 colleges still competing in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon.

Architecture students are designing and building a completely zero-energy house.

The University of Kansas School of Architecture is currently building a model home made from entirely sustainable materials.

“So this is Studio Haven, it’s a 500-foot model home that we’re doing right now for the University of Kansas’ Design Build program and we’re currently in the process of erecting the walls behind us,” said the architecture student KU and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Dirt Works Study, Micah Ramsay.

That model will eventually be a full-sized structure.

“Our insulation is huge…we use sustainable insulation instead of similar fibers and petroleum-based stuff. Ours is actually wood based. It’s a thing called TimberHP,” Ramsay said.

Micah Ramsay says the house will actually generate enough energy to power nearby buildings.

“Not just zero energy, it will actually produce more energy, so we have a lot of sustainable technologies. Lots of things that are a little bit different than regular houses but can be used in all different types of houses,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay hopes other developers who see the home once it’s finished will consider more clean energy options during construction.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the community to come take a look in April, as well as see sustainable technologies that are simple, easy, affordable, and that everyone can use right now. And I hope this will help change some people’s minds about everything.”

Mostly, the students are excited to play a role in the building process.

“This is incredible. So in architecture as a student, a lot of our stuff is designed based on hypothetical stuff. With design build, you design it and then build it with your own hands. And a project like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the companies we work with, work with school and with the US Department of Energy,” Ramsay said.

The architecture program plans to hold a public exhibit for its model home in April.

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