The University of Tennessee in Knoxville has donated its Living Light HouseÂ to the Childrenâ€™s Museum of Oak Ridge,Â and the 750-square-foot solar-powered home was moved Saturday.
The award-winning home makes more energy than it uses, said James Rose, senior lecturer in UT’s College of Architecture and Design.
Moving the 80,000-pound house was a daylong project. The Childrenâ€™s Museum is in a residential area in Oak Ridge, so the museum had to move trees, excavate a slope, and create a temporary road to get toÂ the site.
Rose said the one-room home, which has mechanical and laundry areas, will be used at the Children’s Museum for outreach and to showcase the latestÂ energy-efficient technologies.
“This is the perfect place for this building,” said Rose, the architect of record on the project and the leader of the student architecture studio that designed it.
The home was designed to be the smallest structure a couple could comfortably live in. It has cabinetry with multiple functions, and kitchen and entertainment areas that fold away.
â€œThe house has served as an ambassador for good design and energy efficiency,â€ Rose said in a press release last week. â€œOne of the most satisfying things about giving tours of the house is the response from children. Young people are always fascinated by the house and leave it excited about the future.”
The Living Light House was built through the efforts of more than 200 UT students, and it was an entry to the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. It has traveled nearly 6,000 miles, been toured by more than 50,000 visitors, and was on displayÂ at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Rose and Susan Ballentine of the UT Office of Research searched for a community institution interested in becoming a long-term steward of the house, the press release said. Rose said the Childrenâ€™s Museum was the first and most enthusiastic responder.
â€œThe Childrenâ€™s Museum of Oak Ridge will offer schools and families of East Tennessee an opportunity to learn about caring for the earth and developing conservation practices by visiting the Living Light house in our Environmental Learning Center and Gardens through activities, classes, and tours,â€ said Carroll Welch, the museumâ€™s executive deputy director.
She added that the home will be part of the museumâ€™s outdoor exhibit, the Kids Go Green! Environmental Learning Center.Â The home will be near the museumâ€™s new gardens and will serve as a kitchen for farm-to-table cooking demonstrations, he said.
It will be opened to the public in the coming months.
More than two years of work went into creating the Living Light House for the Solar Decathlon, an international competition among collegiate teams. UT received high marks in several categories, including first in energy production, third in engineering, third in hot-water production, third in energy-efficient appliances, and fifth in architecture.
After the decathlon, Living Light became a traveling exhibit and research laboratory. For the past few years, the university, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Electrical Power Research Institute have conducted testing of its energy productivity. The museum has agreed to allow the UT architecture and mechanical engineering faculty to continue ongoing data collection and experimentation. As a result, the home will contribute to the research for the next generation of energy-efficient buildings, Rose said.