COCOA, Fla. — A high-tech doghouse designed by researchers at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) won the “Most Scientifically Designed Pet House” award during the Orlando Science Center’s second annual Pet House Contest.

The center invited a select group of architects, builders, artists, and designers from Central Florida to design and construct pet houses for dogs, cats, or birds.

FSEC staff built the “K-9 Comfort Cottage,” a dog house that demonstrated a functional “whole building approach” integrating solar energy and building strategies that optimized sustainability and dog comfort ergonomics, according to the FSEC.

The structure is made of extruded PVC sheets on each side of rigid insulation with a high heat-resistant value to keep the interior comfortable. On the floor is slip-resistant tile for both heat storage and easy maintenance.

There are three photovoltaic solar panels on the white reflective roof — one is a 5-W panel that generates electricity and stores it in a 12-V battery to operate a nighttime ventilation fan, one is 1/2-W panel that generates electricity and stores it to power a porch light at night, and the third is another 1/2-W panel that generates electricity to power a daytime ceiling fan housed above a tail-friendly egg crate ceiling.

— by J.J. Siegel

Publication date: 01/27/2003