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Photo of s•ky blue and the Administration Building on the University of Kentucky campus. Enlarge image

s•ky blue returned to the University of Kentucky for further research and monitoring.
(courtesy of Stephen Patton).

Who: University of Kentucky
What: s•ky blue House
The University of Kentucky
Administration Drive
Lexington, KY 40506
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Solar Decathlon 2009

University of Kentucky: Constructing a 3D Textbook

After competing in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009, s•ky blue returned home to the University of Kentucky (UK). It was reconstructed in front of the Administration Building on the campus' main lawn—a location that juxtaposes the university's oldest building with one of its newest.

More than 1,000 people have toured s•ky blue since its return to campus. Weekly tours demonstrate to administrators, perspective students, researchers, and the public that ultra-efficient homes are a comfortable, accessible, and sustainable option for Kentuckians.

"At the end of the day, what we constructed was more than a house," says Greg Luhan, associate dean for research in the College of Design. "It was a three-dimensional textbook, an active living and learning laboratory that embodies leading-edge concepts developed at UK."

In August 2010, the house moved to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, where it was used as the visitor's center for the 2010 Alltech Fédération Equestre Internationale World Equestrian Games. This highly anticipated event hosted attendees and competitors from 60 countries Sept. 25–Oct. 10, 2010.

Following the World Equestrian Games, s•ky blue returned to campus for further monitoring, research, and inspiration. "Many tangential research projects [are] emerging from this project," says Luhan.

For example, Kentucky's decathletes were recruited to participate in the Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences project. "The result of this effort will be the generation of three housing prototypes that can be built for $100,000 and cost $1 per day to operate," Luhan says.