Cornell University Solar Decathlon House Automation Control System

By Roshan Joy Jacob

The Cornell University Solar Decathlon (CUSD) is a multi-department student team that aims to
design, build and operate the most attractive and energy efficient solar-powered house to
compete in the bi-annual Solar Decathlon competition that is sponsored by the US Department of
Energy. The competition aims to educate and raise awareness amongst students of the benefits of
energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building technologies. The Controls sub team
under the CUSD aims to design a control system that is responsible for the automation of the
different devices that are in the house in a power efficient and easy to install manner. The
control system is expected to be flexible and should allow for the easy installation of the
different electrical devices to which it should interface and control. The control system is
expected to be able to control approximately 18 different devices in the house and is expected to
be robust and fail safe. This report describes the main components of the INSTEON based house
automation control system, provided by Smarthome Inc, which is used in CUSD 2009, and
details the procedure used to set the system up. As of date, the control system has been tested in
the Controls Laboratory and is awaiting installation in the actual house being built in the High
Voltage Laboratory.

Full report (pdf)


Living room electrical plan

Bedroom electerical plan

Kitchen electerical plan

Video of test rig:

Using mControl

Using mPanel