In 2010, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) partnered to compete as Team New Jersey in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 competition. Team New Jersey was one of 20 collegiate teams, selected from an international pool of 45 applicants, challenged to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and attractive. A PSEG Technology Demonstration Grant helped support the construction of Team New Jersey’s ENJOY demonstration house.
In the period following the competition, team members, including the Center, continue to assess the commercial potential of specific innovations inspired by the competition experience, including barriers to greater penetration of energy efficient wall assemblies in the U.S. residential market, the focus of a White Paper.
This White Paper identifies several barriers to market penetration of alternative wall assemblies such as increased cost and lack of financing, limited workforce training and institutional factors including codes, environmental regulations and industry structure. The Center has been implementing these and related strategies and has identified the need for further action in several areas including research, training, policy/regulation, and the dissemination of information.
The Center has also been investigating various locations for the ENJOY house, such as discussions with the director of the Rutgers Makerspace and NJ Makerspace Association regarding re-purposing the Solar Decathlon house as a demonstration project/lab space on the site of the existing Rutgers Makerspace.
In this manner, the Solar Decathlon house would benefit from existing makerspace facilities and equipment as well as attendant faculty and staff while adding new focus areas such as home automation, materials science, solar electric and thermal design. The house would also serve as a behavioral lab, especially regarding the human machine interface components of home automation.