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Cal Poly's solar home nearly ready for international competition

The finishing touches are being put on a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient home that's being built on the Cal Poly campus.

The 1,000-square-foot "INhouse" home consists of four modules that can—and will— be moved to Southern California later this month for an international design competition.

It's called the Solar Decathlon and only a handful of universities end up making the cut. Cal Poly is just one of 13 schools accepted for the judging, which will take place during the first half of October.

Lisa-Marie Mueller is the co-project manager and says more than 100 Cal Poly students from 12 different majors participated, because of the complex nature of the competition.

"We are designing this home, but we also have to compete in different aspects of the competition, which include marketing the house, living in the house, and sort-of different things along with that," said Mueller.

The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, which already awarded Cal Poly $50,000 toward its project. 

The winning entry will best blend cost-effectiveness, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency, according to a media release sent out by the university.

INhouse features a central core with twin rectangular wings and about 700 square feet of decking. The interior has a contemporary blend of light colors and bamboo flooring.

High-efficiency compact appliances are used with interactive devices. The biggest energy-saving elements of the home though are its ability to balance heat and cold.