FIU students building green home to display at Olympics

MIAMI

While most participants in Beijing’s Summer Olympics next year will be going for the gold, a group of Florida college students will go for the green.

Florida International University students are building a 3,200-square-foot house that aims to become one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes in the world.

“Future House USA,” includes solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, permeable paving, nontoxic building materials and a water recycling system. The goal is to achieve zero net energy, meaning the home would produce as much energy as it uses.

FIU engineering and architecture faculty members helped design the house which favors the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright and an interior design of feng-shui. Students plan to help market the green home.

Construction began this spring and is expected to conclude later this year. No one will live in the house, which is five miles from the Olympic Village site. Visitors can tour it during the Olympics and for six years afterward, said Yong Tao, an FIU engineering professor who helped design the home

The structure will be part of a neighborhood of energy-efficient homes from other countries. China, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway, South Korea and Japan are also participating. FIU is the only U.S. school on the project.

Developers hope to design a smaller version of the U.S. house, about 1,600 square feet, to sell to the public.

“Doing it wrong is catastrophic,” said Lewis Demetri, who is on the project development team for Alternative Energy Living Foundation. “Doing it right will be a regenerative economic event. The thing with energy efficiency is that as you move through time, your savings get larger.

Information from: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com

– Associated Press



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