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Photo of Solar House I among the trees at the Columbus Zoo. Enlarge image

Ohio State's Solar House I resided at the Columbus Zoo for a couple years. To honor the agricultural heritage of the state, the house uses local materials, including the reclaimed barn wood on the façade.
(Courtesy of Dave Nedrow)

Who: The Ohio State University
What: Solar House I
New Albany Plain Local School District
New Albany, OH 43054
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Public tours: See the school district's website for more info.

Solar Decathlon 2009

The Ohio State University: Living Among the Animals

After the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009, The Ohio State University’s Solar House I was relocated and rebuilt at the Columbus Zoo in June 2010. For two years, it welcomed visitors to the Polar Frontier exhibit, which features two polar bears—Anana and Aurora—in a 1.3-acre habitat. OSU loaned the house to the zoo for a two-year period while the exhibit raised funds for Polar Bears International.

In 2012, OSU donated the roughly $300,000 house to the New Albany Plain Local School District. The house is now located on the New Albany city school campus where it serves as a K-12 Nature and Renewable Energy STEM Education Center.

As a first-time participant in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, The Ohio State University (OSU) team achieved an impressive top-10 finish in the 2009 competition. Its “Ohio-centric” house owed much of its success to the combined expertise of students from 20 degree programs.

The team set out to complement influential climate research under way at OSU. From harvesting energy with adjustable solar panels to saving electricity with automated sensors, the house demonstrates a range of solutions for sustainable living.