BTN LiveBIG: Penn State's Morningstar Home brightens future of sustainability

BTN LiveBIG: Penn State's Morningstar Home brightens future of sustainability

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When one hears the phrase “on-campus housing,” sustainability probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But tucked away on its University Park campus, Penn State operates a residence that’s the very essence of sustainability.

“MorningStar is an innovative place, it has all the green technologies you would ever want and need. [It’s] a melting pot of different things, renewable energy sources and everything.” said Anthony Magliozzi, an undergraduate energy engineer who helps run the sustainable home.

Originally built for the 2007 Solar Decathalon, the MorningStar Solar Home has become a beacon for eco-conscious living, and is used by Penn State faculty as an engaging space to teach about sustainable technology. Additionally, because the house is run by a team of undergrads like Magliozzi, students have the chance to utilize it regularly.

“On a typical week, we have five or six students who are using the home to create learning experiences for students,” explained David Riley, a professor of architectural engineering. “We also have students who do energy assessments in the community, and they bring homeowners here to show them some ideas that might pertain to their home.”

MorningStar is also open to public tours, and has drawn visitors of all ages from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia who want a glimpse at sustainable living. While the home is certainly environmentally conscious, it is hardly bare-bones in design.

“I think one of the misconceptions is that energy efficiency is something that will take away from your current comfort or the way you’re living,” Magliozzi said. “That’s actually not true at all. If you’re not more comfortable in your home, then you’re not doing it right.”

For Magliozzi, working on the MorningStar home has reinforced his commitment to creating sustainable solutions for the environmental problems his generation will inevitably have to tackle.

“You know, we’re going to be the ones who are facing these energy crises in the future,” he said. “So we need to work together as a team to be able to put a solution together. And that’s what I think we have in the MorningStar.”

By Grant Rindner


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