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Solar Home Getting High-profile Test

January 29, 2007

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Give Frank Wagner credit.

The Virginia state senator is living in a solar-powered house for an entire week to promote alternative energy. He's also attempting to see if the house will survive a week of his energy needs.

Wagner, from Virginia Beach, has long been a fan of alternative genergy. The house he is living in for a week is a contest winner designed by students at Virginia Tech University. The main test is to see whether the house can run totally on solar power, giving enough juice to run normal home appliances and have enough left over to charge an electric car.

The house gets its warmth from heat that comes up through the floor. The TV is an especially large wide-screen one, but it was chosen for its energy efficiency, as were all of the appliances. Wagner can monitor the energy levels of all of these things from a computer that he can access while sitting on the couch.

The house was a joint project completed by 80 engineering and architecture students and eight faculty members. It took nearly three years to build. The house won fourth place at the 2005 Solar Decathlon, an international competition.

Click here to see a detailed picture of the house.

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