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Purdue house runs entirely on DC power: Efficient Nano-Grid Powered by Solar, Batteries or Utilities

image credit: Purdue University
David Mandell's picture
Marketing & Development, Marshall DC Lighting, LLC

“DC Lighting is the Key to Optimized Microgrid Solutions” (Pacific North National Laboratory, 2020) Marshall 24DC, 48DC and 125DC LED light fixtures 24DC/48DC/125DC LED lighting brings increasing...

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  • Sep 14, 2022

The project to transform a 1920s-era West Lafayette home into the DC Nanogrid House began in 2017 under the direction of Eckhard Groll, the William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of Mechanical Engineering, and member of Purdue’s Center for High Performance Buildings. “We wanted to take a normal house and completely retrofit it with DC appliances and DC architecture,” Groll said. 

Purdue researchers, in collaboration with Rectify Solar, developed a patented distribution system that enables the house to integrate both DC power – from solar panels, wind turbines or battery storage – and AC power from local electrical utilities.  DC-powered light fixtures were provided by Marshall DC Lighting.  The system is also modular, so it can grow and adapt for different sizes of homes and businesses, integrating multiple sources of electricity.

Purdue’s DC Nanogrid House is a “living laboratory.” Graduate students live in the home full time to offer real-world feedback on its comfort and usability. They’ve installed sensors in every room to detect whether people are present so that the HVAC system only conditions air where it’s needed.

“A DC-house can potentially sustain itself for short periods of time by generating its own renewable energy and detaching from the grid through the help of on-site stored energy. This ultimately minimizes the strain on the outside grid in emergency situations. Events like the Texas storm are perfect illustrations of how a DC-house can benefit individuals and the community.”

“This gives us the opportunity to perform both cutting-edge research on energy-saving opportunities and observe its potential benefits in a truly real-world setting, rather than just relying on simulations,” Groll said.

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Larry Eisenberg's picture
Larry Eisenberg on Sep 19, 2022

Hi David: Saw this done 15 years ago in a small house in Southern California.  With every single electric use on in the house, the house drew 200 watts. 100% DC conversion holds huge promise and needs to be discussed much more actively as a solid energy conservation concept.

Thanks for posting this.

David Mandell's picture
Thank David for the Post!
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