By Bill Dandridge
Recently I had the opportunity to tour the Home Depot Duke Smart Home with a client of mine. This client was interested in buying an older home that would require many updates to help its systems to operate more efficiently. My client was looking for inspiration, and he chose this highly-innovative building from which to get ideas.
This house was a senior project from a 2003 graduate of Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. Because of funding issues, or a lack of funding (the students thought that Duke was going to pay the ~$1.4 million in construction costs, which they were informed was NOT in the original plans), the Home Depot Duke Smart Home was not built until 2007. The first group of 10 students moved in at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.
Originally, the building was planned to have cutting-edge technology that reflected the most current innovations, but its plans were altered slightly to reflect the desires of its inhabitants. The students wanted to have solar water heaters and rainwater harvesting systems, for instance.
The Home Depot Duke Smart Home has achieved the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum designation from the US Green Building Council by following a rigorous process during the building process, and by submitting a checklist of energy-saving measures implemented during the construction.
Please visit the Smart Home's website (Duke Smart Home Program) to learn more about the home’s environmentally-friendly features.