Sen. Whitehouse Visits Nearly-Finished RISD, Brown Solar House

May 2, 2014

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse toured a solar-power house designed by students from Brown, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany. The house, made out of high performing fabrics that are fire proof, water resistant, and energy efficient, heads to France soon for a solar decathlon.

Whitehouse said he’s followed the project since its early days. 

The flexible solar panels will sit flat upon a curved roof.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

“They brought the model into my office and it’s really terrific to see it now in real scale and pretty close to finish as it’s going to look when it is representing Brown and RISD and Rhode Island in Paris this summer,” said Whitehouse.

Whitehouse said the project is a new way to look at sustainable construction. The goal of the solar decathlon is to show that homes can be affordable, easy-to-build, and energy efficient.

Brown engineering sophomore student Gareth Rose said they've recently added the flexible solar panels that will sit flat on the house's curved roof.

“We’ll do the final run of everything that runs on electricity, the heating and cooling, and test that before we go to the competition when we get to France."

The team will compete with 19 others in Versailles. They’ve spent nearly two years planning and designing this energy efficient house that will use 90 percent less energy than a typical home.