The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a high-profile international competition held every two years on the National Mall in Washington D.C. that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. While the competitive aspect of the Solar Decathlon is exciting and educational for the student teams, the real goal of the competition is to educate building professionals and the general public about
the current innovative products and techniques that are available for sustainable homes.
Purdue University's IN Home takes a realistic, balanced approach to net-zero housing that is certain to have broad appeal. On an annual basis, a net-zero home produces energy with on-site renewable energy sources that is equal to the amount of energy used by the building's occupants. The IN Home makes use of proven, traditional methods to achieve anet-zero structure, harnessing thermodynamic and solar phenomena to reduce energy demand. The home will be designed to favor natural passive processes over energy intensive mechanical processes.