Solar Home Project Sees New Life as Eco-Education Showroom

Originally, it was a constructed by student-led team from Penn State for the 2009 Solar Decathlon. Now the solar-powered, zero-emission building formerly known as Natural Fusion will be dedicated and commissioned by Bayer MaterialScience LLC as its new EcoCommercial Building Conference Center at the company’s campus in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania.

Originally constructed as a home, the 800-square ft. building features both solar thermal and solar electric energy systems, as well as innovative daylighting elements such as the use of reflective surfaces and automatic sensors that adjust to outside conditions.  It was the first residential project to utilize the Solyndra cylindrical photovoltaics, which captures more sunlight throughout the entire day than traditional flat panels, in a system called Green Roof Integrated Photovoltaics (GRIP V) where the properties of the green roof beneath the panels create greater efficiency in powering the house.

Natural-Fusion

image via Natural Fusion

The building, in its new capacity, will serve as an energy modeling site, educational center and showcase for Bayer MaterialScience’s EcoCommercial Building materials, which include high-performance plastics and polymers. (The company is apparently no stranger to the project, having contributed to the construction of the building and reviewed its initial designs.) The building was dedicated and commissioned in May.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.