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Aug 05, 2013 08:50 AM EDT

Louisiana’s Architecture Students Build Their Largest Energy Efficient Home

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Every summer architecture and design students of the University of Louisiana give shape to their classroom ideas by constructing innovative and energy efficient homes on vacant plots. This year, the students have built a super-energy-efficient home, their largest till date.

The 'Building Institute' program, introduced by the University of Louisiana's School of Architecture and Design in 2011, allows students to design homes during the summer based on designs created during the fall semester.

So far, students have designed, built and sold two homes for $153,000 and $151,000 respectively. When compared to the other two houses, the current project, the 'Cour House' is their largest construction till date and its projected value is around $190,000.

"This has been the best experience I've had," said Nick Clesi, a UL Lafayette graduate student. Clesi, one of the six students who have designed the Cour House, is the project manager.

This modern-style home has three bedrooms, two-baths, a courtyard and a kitchen with 16-foot vaulted ceilings. The ceilings in the living room measure 11 feet.

The courtyard, which is the standout feature of this home, has three entrances: through sliding doors in the living room, French doors from the master bedroom and through a glass garage door from the kitchen.

"In the courtyard, you'll be surrounded by glass," Clesi said. "It creates a private space in a public realm."

As part of the sustainable practices, students have incorporated energy-efficient building methods and appliances with solar power in their current project.

Geoff Gjertson, an associate professor of architecture, said that apart from providing a practical experience, the aim of the program is to build homes with 'small footprints' within walkable communities.

"It's smart growth and sustainability, too," Gjertson said.

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