U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun

Solar Decathlon 2011

Purdue University


The INhome, Purdue University's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry, offers a realistic and balanced vision for ultra-efficient housing. The INhome—short for Indiana home—is an innovative, yet practical, house that meets the needs of a typical Midwestern consumer in today's cost-competitive residential market.

Design Philosophy

The INhome blends technological innovation with functional aesthetics to create a living space that appeals to homeowners. It is practical and cost-effective because of its reliance on passive design, which uses natural processes to reduce heating, cooling, and lighting needs. The Midwestern-inspired INhome demonstrates some of the many ways to live sustainably without sacrificing quality or comfort.


Although the exterior of the INhome could blend in well in a typical Midwestern neighborhood, the house's design includes many special features, such as:

  • A self-watering biowall with vertically arranged plants

  • Interior finishes that contain pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content

  • A multi-process air purification system that removes airborne contaminants.


The INhome exhibits a number of efficiency technologies in its mechanical systems—all of which can be effectively and economically implemented in residential applications. These include:

  • An air-to-air heat pump that serves as the primary heating and cooling source

  • A heat pump hot water heater that uses the ambient air inside the house to produce hot water

  • Carefully placed ductwork that allows for conservation of warm and cool air as it is distributed throughout the house.

Market Strategy

The INhome's target client is a young professional couple, currently without children, in the market for a home in Indiana. The house, which is divided into private and public spaces, features a master bedroom with access to a west-facing porch. The full bathroom includes two sinks so multiple residents can use the space simultaneously. An extra room provides space for a home office or second bedroom.


Kevin Rodgers
c/o William Hutzel
Purdue University
Knoy Hall, Room 107
401 North Grant St.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2021
Phone: 901-644-3069

Photo of the Purdue University team members in front of a building on campus. In front of them is a hedge cut to read "Purdue." Enlarge image

The Purdue University Solar Decathlon team (courtesy of the Purdue University Solar Decathlon team).

Illustration of INhome in a grassy setting. A sign in a planter in front reads "Team Purdue INhome." Enlarge image

A computer-generated rendering of Purdue University's INhome (courtesy of the Purdue University Solar Decathlon team).

A video walkthrough of Purdue University's Solar Decathlon house.

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