UK Happenings

State Showcases UK Energy Projects Derby Day



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2011) − Two University of Kentucky projects focused on energy conservation will be showcased as part of the governor's Derby festivities this weekend in Frankfort, Ky. People attending the Governor's Derby Celebration at the Capitol will be able to learn more about S•KY BLUE House and HBEER, as part of a preview of the state's new Capitol Education Center presented from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 7.

The Capitol Education Center, located between the Governor's Mansion and the Annex Parking Structure, aims to educate and promote the state's energy conservation initiatives. The new center will provide a place for visitors to our state's capitol to see an on-going and changing display that will focus on such issues as energy conservation, environmental stewardship, sustainable design, environmental tourism and the economic forces that shape these conversations.

This weekend's exhibition at the Capitol Education Center will include materials and models related to UK's S•KY BLUE House, which took ninth place in the U.S. Department of Energy 2009 Solar Decathlon. Under the direction of Don Colliver, a professor in the UK College of Agriculture Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Gregory Luhan, associate dean for research in the UK College of Design, the S•KY BLUE House was designed, constructed and marketed by more than 175 students in the colleges of Agriculture, Design, Engineering, and Communications and Information Studies. This net-zero energy home was viewed by 200,000 people and toured by 25,000 visitors while it competed on the National Mall, in Washington, D.C. After a short stint as a visitor center at the World Equestrian Games last fall in Lexington, the home continues to serve as a research lab for students at the university.

Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residency (HBEER), a joint College of Design-Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) project led by Michael Speaks in the College of Design and Rodney Andrews in CAER, and involving a large numbers of architecture graduate students, addresses two important concerns: low-cost housing and energy efficiency. This initiative is designing and developing concepts, prototypes, and manufactured housing units that are highly energy-efficient and cost under $100,000. Ultimately, it is hoped that these units will supplant existing energy inefficient mobile homes. The project will retool and redirect Kentucky's houseboat manufacturing industry, which has been decimated by the recent economic downturn.

The Capitol Education Center will open to the public in the summer.

For more information on all the Derby festivities at the Capitol this Saturday, May 7, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754 ext. 229;