Solar Decathlon Exhibit Design

  • solar decathlon exhibit
  • solar decathlon exhibit
  • solar decathlon exhibit
  • exhibit plan
  • exhibit boards
  • exhibit boards
  • exhibit board: design
  • exhibit board: technology
  • exhibit board: economics
  • cooling system diagram
  • absorption chilling diagram
Project Brief: Communicate the building's design and systems to the 250,000 visitors who will see it on the National Mall.
Concept: A self-guided tour in which the fictional "DoE family" describe their favorite aspects of their solar house: the design (John), economics (Jane), and technology (Jeffrey).
Team / Role: I participated in a design studio dedicated to designing the exhibit, as well as a smaller team that subsequently completed the design. I developed most of the content on Jeremy's (technology) boards, as well as portions of the other boards.

A family-friendly exhibit designed to explain the inner workings of Cincinnati's 2007 Solar Decathlon house.

One of the ten competitions that comprise the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon is "Communications." The University of Cincinnati team decided to treat the house as a self-paced exhibit, staffed by student experts of various disciplines, where visitors could move at their own pace, gleaning as much or as little information as they wanted, and focusing on what most interested them. We wanted the exhibit to be accessible, family friendly, and informative without being overly technical.

The result was a fictional family: John, Jane, and Jeffrey DoE (a pun on Department of Energy) who explain their favorite aspects of the house. John, a designer, explains the design concepts and describes some of the sustainable materials. Jane, a marketing executive, is impressed with the cost savings associated with efficiency, on-site energy production, and modular design. Jeffrey, a kid genius, can't wait to explain the difference between thermal and electrical energy, or how the absorption chiller uses hot water to cool the house. One final character, the smug and self-important Sun, reminds visitors of his importance throughout the exhibit.

For more on University of Cincinnati's 2007 Solar Decathlon house, see the main project page, here.

copyright © 2013 by carl s. sterner, unless otherwise noted. more...