Imagine a day when the buildings that we work and live in actually generate more energy than they use. It’s not as far into the future as you might think, thanks to the work of Ulrike Passe, an assistant professor in architecture at Iowa State University.

Ulrike Passe has been researching the relationship between building science, design and human behavior in existing structures in Iowa. One structure she is working with is the Interlock House. It’s a solar-powered home designed and constructed by Iowa State students to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon.

The house successfully produced more energy than it used during the competition in Washington, D.C. Afterwards, it was reassembled by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Honey Creek Resort State Park to help professors track and evaluate its performance in Iowa’s climate. Passe believes the information that has been gathered from the house could be a model of energy efficiency in Iowa and the world.

All over Iowa State University, you’ll find professors like Passe, who are researching and developing world-changing ideas. Whether it’s inventing a sewer pipe made of recycled plastic, creating a new conductor of heat through spider silk or making buildings more energy efficient, our professors are changing the world with their ideas. So we won’t have to imagine it. We’ll be living it.

More information about the Interlock House.

Ulrike Passe’s current research is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number EPS-1101284. More information.