Gautier Gets A Solar Habitat Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier Gets A Solar Habitat Home

Architecture student Joy Wang is installing new windows today at a home in Gautier.

"We're making a house that has these ecological features, but is affordable economically that basically anyone can live in," Wang says.

Fourteen University of Virginia students have planned every aspect of this home for months. The students partnered with Northrop Grumman and Habitat for Humanity, and are now seeing their solar powered home rise.

"The earth has so many forms of energy that we could just live off those. But instead, we're polluting and having to transform all these other types of energy, when really, we can just use what's already here," Wang says.

"The home has eight solar panels on the roof and the features that will eventually go inside the home will use sun's energy during the day and the city's power grid at night. The sun powers the house through the PV ray. That is the solar cells on the roof," says engineering student and volunteer Benjamin Kidd. "It essentially turns light, the energy found in the sun's light, into the electrical energy."

While solar energy might sound complicated, it's the same technology that's used in household calculators.

"We've got 8 panels on the roof. That gives us about 2 kilowatts during 6-8 hours of the day," Kidd says. "That is most of the homeowner's loads. It will take care of a lot of the day to day things, such as lighting most of the appliances, things like that."

So, what started as real life lessons in engineering, architecture and ecology has developed into much more for these college students.

"We've put so much love and energy and time into it, we just hope the future family loves it as much as we do," Wang says.

Habitat for Humanity is currently reviewing applications to select the family to move into the home. Construction the solar house will take twice as long as a regular Habitat House, but it should be ready for someone to call home by Christmas.

By Keli Rabon

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