>>Jenny: Hello and welcome to Nature’s
Next Masterpiece. The Missouri S&T Solar House Design Team takes
its role as innovators of net-zero housing with great respect.
In this project, we focused on showing how efficient living is both comfortable and appealing
to the everyday family.>>Narrator: Each year tons of materials are
simply discarded into the environment. The best-case scenario being that they are
disposed of in a landfill. The Nest Home takes its name and design from
the examples given in nature by birds and their habitats.
In the same way those birds work tirelessly to reclaim and repurpose raw materials from
their surroundings, our team is reusing materials from our local community to build a home.
>>Michael: The first challenge we faced was how to make a 1,000-square-foot container home
comfortable for a family. Using shipping containers to build homes is
not a new idea, but typical container homes are rectangular and can sometimes feel confining.
To meet this challenge, we chose to arrange our containers to form a deconstructed triangle.
By using a floor-to-ceiling window wall, we have created the feeling of ample space in
the living room. This arrangement softens the border between
the exterior and interior, creating a comfortable area for the family to spend time together.
As you can see, this design also floods the home with natural light, which reduces energy
consumption and brings the outdoors inside.>>Narrator: We believe that sustainable design
goes beyond installing solar panels on a home. It is necessary to consider how every resource
entering the home can be most efficiently and effectively used.
Wastewater, ambient sunlight, air flow, and much more are managed together, combining
the strengths of different designs used in the Nest Home to provide comfort and convenience.
>>Jenny: Inspired by the simplicity of birds’ nests, the Nest Home is built from many materials
gathered locally and repurposed. This shows that the lifecycle of these items does not end when they outlast their original use.
Our kitchen cabinets have been purchased from a local secondhand store and refinished, while
our exterior siding is made from recycled pallet wood that we gathered from local companies.
This is some of our denim fiber insulation. This insulation outperforms traditional fiberglass
in ease of installation, soundproofing, manufacturing cost, and as a thermal barrier.
>>Michael: Our integrated home automation system monitors the mechanical and electrical
systems of the Nest Home. It is capable of responding to conditions
by receiving forecast updates in real-time and combining them with user preferences to
maintain a comfortable environment. The residents can easily control the systems
and monitor energy usage via common wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets.
>>Narrator: The Nest Home uses a solar-thermal system to heat water directly with the sunlight,
minimizing energy consumption and providing ample hot water for use throughout the home.
The Nest Home is powered by an array of 24 solar panels producing enough surplus energy
to also charge an electric vehicle. This innovative system utilizes micro-inverters
on each panel, directly converting the DC power generated by the sun to the AC current
used within the home.>>Jenny: In its current configuration, the
Nest Home is tailored to provide comfort and convenience to a growing family.
However, its adaptable nature means it can be readily customized to suit the needs of
a broad range of demographics, from a full nest to an empty nest.
>>Michael: Thank you for joining us on a tour of the Nest Home’s final stage of construction.
We can’t wait to see you in October at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon!