The University of North Texas plans to build what it’s calling a Zero Energy Research laboratory which will enable students and faculty to test the “sustainable energy technologies of tomorrow.” The idea: put green building clean tech that could enable net-zero energy consumption to the test and educate future engineers and architects.
UNT students and faculty will use this new facility to test insulation, solar panels integrated into the building, energy efficient windows, energy storage, and smart grid energy monitoring devices. Interestingly, they also intend to study the impact of energy efficiency strategies on consumer behavior.
Slated to open in 2012, the 1200 square foot structure will have a central core, a full bathroom with a shower, a kitchen, and a research lab. The building will initially be solar-powered, but eventually the UNT team hopes to power this green building with additional alternative energy sources like wind power.
The project is headed by Dr. Yong Tao, an internationally recognized scientist and the former director of the Future House USA project which built a zero-net energy house for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The $1.1M lab is funded through a combination of higher education assistance funds, the university’s operating funds, and in-kind gifts from many building companies.