In this video an engineering design professor introduces three power systems (a photovoltaic array, a large wind turbine, and a little solar collector) that provide electricity for a graduate student who lives off the grid on a homestead sponsored by the Center for Sustainability at Penn State. The photovoltaic system turns solar energy into electricity. DC (Direct Current) electricity is fed to a box that regulates the power and stores it in batteries. As a backup, a biodiesel generator can produce electricity on days with little sun or wind.
How much energy does one person need to live comfortably off the grid? Researchers at Penn State are pursuing ways to increase energy efficiency through the design of affordable, durable homes.
To study an off-grid residence on campus, in 2005 a grad student lived through the winter on 8.5 acres researchers called the Hybrid Homestead in the shadow of the football stadium. His house? A small circular wooden structure called a yurt, modeled after the circular tents used by nomadic people in Central Asia. This yurt, however, had a green roof, a warm floor, and enough energy coming in to power a computer and a cell phone. After grinding beans for his coffee and gathering fresh vegetables from a greenhouse, the student hopped on his bicycle and headed for class. As he pedaled off, his energy sources continued to work for him. Researchers monitored how a small windmill, a photovoltaic array, and a solar collector powered his needs.
Besides green roofing and solar and wind energy production, the Hybrid Homestead contains other innovative features built by students and volunteers: straw bale construction, LED lighting, and natural wastewater treatment systems. In 2007 students designed another solar-powered home, MorningStar as a model for durable, affordable housing. Conceptually the house design includes a heart (living space), a brain (the technical core of the mechanical, kitchen and bath systems) and lungs (a breezeway).
To learn more about the Hybrid Homestead, check out Center for Sustainability at Penn State University Tour.
To learn more about ways we can use solar energy, check out Pennsylvania Energy: Energy from the Sun.
To learn more about efforts in Pennsylvania to produce electricity using wind power, check out Pennsylvania Energy: Wind.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.