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  • [June 21, 2013]

    Zero-carbon emission house “Etho” to be constructed at Peking University

  •                  Construction of Etho                                                 Design Sketch of Etho

    Construction began last Friday of a 97-square-meter single solar house with two bedrooms and one bathroom near the east gate of Peking University. The house, named “Etho”, was jointly designed by around 160 students from Peking University and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

    "Our dream of building a cutting-edge, net zero solar home will come true after one month of construction," said Xuesong Peng, 21, a journalism student at Peking University, who is involved in the building project.

    The energy supply of Etho will come from sole solar energy the house collects by itself, which will sustain the energy consumption of daily family use, as well as maintain an appropriate environment of temperature and humidity.

    Besides that, Etho features a home automation system that allows occupants to control a number of features through a tablet, phone or computer.

    The system can also change lighting levels and allows for the monitoring of appliances and outlets.

    He said that students majoring in architectural design, engineering, electronics, journalism and law are taking part in the project.

    The two universities have been working on the design of the house for the past year.

    Besides design, around 20 students of architecture from Peking University will work together with a professional construction team to make the solar home a reality, he said.

    “The current construction site is only temporary. The house, which will be divided into four modules, will be transported to Datong in Shanxi province in July when it is completed, where it will be exhibited during the Solar Decathlon China 2013,” said Professor Dong Wang from the Department of Energy and Resources Engineering, College of Engineering, and director of the project.

    The contest is jointly organized by the National Energy Administration, the US Department of Energy and Peking University.

    The Solar Decathlon (SD) was launched in the U.S. in 2002 and has been held about every two years. In January 2011, during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s official state visit to the U.S., the memorandum of understanding of China’s hosting of SD in 2013 was signed as one of the many agreements on energy issues.

    By now, 36 universities from 13 countries all over the world have formed 23 teams, one third of which are joint collaborations based on international university partnerships. Each will design and build a house that uses solar energy as its sole energy source.

    “Taking part in the contest will raise students’ awareness of environmental protection and interests in power-saving technologies,” Professor Dongxiao Zhang, executive vice dean of the College of Engineering commented.