The Duke Smart Home program, which includes the Home Depot Smart Home, a live-in research laboratory operated by the Pratt School of Engineering, is planning out a year for energy efficiency programs. First on the docket will be an electric bike and a solar bench, explained Harvey Shi.

Students will also add rainproof LED lighting panels to the underside of the roof and USB chargers for phones and tablets. The home already has an app that lets users control the lights from a cellphone, as well as a community garden to improve composting efforts on campus. One student will pursue a Smart Home Fellowship to develop a solar pasteurizer to heat consumables and kill germs.

Eventually, says Shi, the students hope to make the Duke Smart Home capable of achieving net zero energy.

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