The house is made of SIPs, with long-lasting, low-maintenance HardiePlank applied to the exterior.

The house is made of SIPs, with long-lasting, low-maintenance HardiePlank applied to the exterior.

Credit: Ian Allen

The Purdue team designed INhome (short for Indiana home) to appeal to "a typical Midwestern consumer." The engineer-driven project—Purdue has no school of architecture—was intended to show that energy-efficient homes can be easy to live in and construct. "We would like a contractor to be able to walk in and say, ‘I know how to build this and make a profit,’ " says Bill Hutzel, a professor of mechanical engineering technology. Purdue took a simple approach to controlling up-front costs by using off-the-shelf materials. The house is made of SIPs, with long-lasting, low-maintenance HardiePlank applied to the exterior. The roof features sun-reflective cool-roof shingles. The project also includes an innovative biowall, an air-purifying system based on NASA research that studied how plants can purify air in space.

Estimated cost: $257,853.70