Duke Smart House Wins Sustainability Grant

Every two years, the EPA and its 40 partners from industry, Non-Governmental Organizations, and other government agencies, hold a student design competition for sustainability called the P3 Award. This year, the Duke Engineering Living Technology Advancement (DELTA) Smart House Project was selected as one of the 50 teams to compete in next year's contest.

In the Spring of 2005, a team of cross-disciplinary engineering faculty (Martin Brooke/ECE, Robert Kielb/MEMS, Joe Nadeau/CEE, and David Schaad/CEE along with Mark Younger, Smart House Director) piloted a new course to mentor and supervise applied design and fabrication projects. In the course, student teams functioned as design and fabrication squads conceptualizing and constructing prototypes of actual sustainable features to be incorporated into the DELTA Smarthouse that is under construction. The P3 Award competition will be an extension of that course, with the faculty serving as advisors for a team of Pratt students who will be competing

Over this next year, working under the tutelage of the assembled faculty, Duke engineers will explore how to conceptualize, design and fabricate sustainable building systems including:

  • rainfall harvesting through the capture, containment and reuse in irrigation systems;
  • sustainable building design, including materials of construction, use of passive lighting and green building concepts;
  • grey-water reuse systems;
  • alternative energy generation and re-capture, including recovery of energy from showers, dishwashers and other high temperature water uses;
  • self-regulating sensors to control air handlers and HVAC systems;
  • energy efficient lighting and entertainment/video systems;
  • composting waste disposal and sustainable landscaping.

With increasing urban sprawl, developing sustainable and adaptable residences will be important for mitigating the negative enviornmental effects of development. As part of these student teams, individual groups will formulate their own problem related to sustainability with the end goal being an integrated and constructable enhancement to the DELTA Smart House.

The P3 Award Competition has two phases. Initially, the selected teams are granted $10,000. Recipients use the money to research and develop their projects during the academic year. Then in the spring of 2006, the P3 grant recipients will be invited to Washington, D.C. to compete for larger additional funding for further design development and implementation.