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A team Puerto Rico student stands over the team's gray-water pool, which is filled with green plants, and explains to visitors surrounding the pool how it recycles water for reuse.

Universidad de Puerto Rico student Wilfredo Rodriguez explains the team's gray-water pool to visitors at the 2007 Solar Decathlon. The pool is used to filter wash water for reuse.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Building Industry Workshops

Below are descriptions of the workshops offered at the 2007 Solar Decathlon on Building Industry Day, Thursday, October 18, 2007.

Solar Applications for Homes

Revised Title: Translating Sustainability to Affordable Housing

9:00 a.m. Presenter: ASHRAE and John Quale, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia School of Architecture

The focus of the workshop is translating sustainability to affordable housing by focusing on the ecoMOD, a multi-disciplinary collaborative project that creates affordable, prefabricated, ecological housing units. The goal of ecoMOD is to demonstrate the environmental potential of prefabricated construction and to challenge the U.S. modular and manufactured housing industry to explore this potential.

Enabling Solar Energy

10:00 a.m. Presenter: Audey Korpus, Product Marketing Manager, Xantrex Technology, Inc.

Inverters can be described as enabling devices of solar and renewable energy systems. With more than 20 years of experience as a manufacturer of renewable energy inverters, Xantrex has developed innovative designs and technologies that have improved inverter performance and reliability while reducing installation costs. As a solar energy inverter manufacturer in single-phase (residential) off-grid inverters, grid-interactive inverters, and three-phase (commercial) grid-interactive inverters, Xantrex has developed products that offer best-in-class performance in a compact, easy-to-install design. The presentation highlights these products and the benefits of using Xantrex inverters.

Creating Differentiation in a Cooled Housing Market

11:00 a.m. Presenter: Charlie Popeck, president & CEO, Green Ideas (on behalf of Honeywell)

This session highlights the business case for implementing an integrated design for high-performance buildings. In today's competitive housing market, it is critical for homeowners and builders to understand how existing technologies and design strategies can improve overall performance of the building envelope. This session focuses on how closed-cell urethane foam insulation improves performance. Specifically, it addresses R-values per inch, structural integrity, air/moisture barrier, durability, and reduced environmental impact, as well as inherent cost reductions such as smaller HVAC systems and reduced ductwork.

Attendees learn the benefits of reduced energy bills, total cost of ownership, long-term resale value, and overall improved occupant health and comfort. Likewise, builders can compete more effectively by selling performance and quality versus price and maximum square footage.

Introduction to the National Green Building Program

12:00 p.m. Presenter: Emily Englist, NAHB

How does the NAHB National Green Building Program work? How are projects certified? And who's already on board? Test the new interactive, Web-based certification system as well as other tools and resources for green builders and certifiers. Find out how to join the national registry of green builders and green homes. This session is a must for anyone building in today's mainstream marketplace.

Zero Energy Homes

1:00 p.m. Presenter: Jeff Christian, DOE

Learn how five near-zero-energy test houses were designed, constructed, and monitored from 2002 to 2007. These houses have a net average daily cost for grid power of as little as $0.41. These research houses have inspired two near-zero-energy commercial houses that have detailed construction plans and specifications available. One 2,600-square-foot house is designed to cost the homeowner about $1.00/day for all the off-site energy.

LEED for Homes Program

2:00 p.m. Presenter: Emily Mitchell, USGBC

This session reviews a list of recommended green measures, based on cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. USGBC representatives will provide a list of recommended measures, based on the technical credits and prerequisites in the LEED for Homes Rating System.

Solar Hot Water System Performance

3:00 p.m. Presenter: Duncan Prahl, DOE Building America (IBACOS)

This session highlights the energy efficiency benefits that solar hot water systems can provide and some of the pitfalls to avoid. Case studies from Colorado and Arizona are presented, covering both solar used solely for domestic hot water and for domestic hot water combined with space heating.

Solar for Builders

4:00 p.m. Presenter: Paul Garvison, BP

This session is tailored to solar energy for builders, including the benefits of solar, how a solar electric system works, and how solar can be integrated into a builder's operations. A BP representative reviews performance, economics, and costs of solar systems.

Presolarizing: What to Do Before You Innovate

5:00 p.m. Presenter: Dana Bres, PATH

While the movement to incorporate green technologies and building practices continues to gain steam, these measures are only effective when preceded by careful planning. Not only do contractors need to allow for an earlier decision-making process, but they also need to attend to the fundamentals of sound building practices. This session explores the importance of taking a holistic approach to insulation, air and moisture control, and building quality, with an emphasis on good "green communication" with subcontractors.