While many students are getting ready for school this month, teams of university and college students around the globe have been hard at work this summer creating solar-powered houses as part of the Energy Department’s 6th biennial Solar Decathlon.
In January, we announced the 20 teams for the 2013 competition. More than six months later, the teams are in full swing designing and building energy-efficient, solar houses that will compete in 10 contests to gauge houses’ energy consumption, affordability, and ease of living. For most contests, we will have to wait for the judging in October 2013 to learn how teams are doing. But the Communications Contest provides an inside look at how teams are progressing.
From team websites and visuals to public tours and audience engagement, teams are judged on how well they educate others about their houses and their experiences during the competition. Some teams are going beyond the contest requirements and engaging people through different social media channels. Below are highlights of each team’s house and how to follow their every move during the next year and a half.
- AZ State/New Mexico: Arizona State University and The University of New Mexico are teaming up to create a solar-powered house that adapts to the extreme climate in the Southwest without harming the landscape. Follow the team’s progress on Facebook.
- Czech Republic: Students from Czech Technical University are creating the “AIR House” — an affordable, innovative, and recyclable house — that will react to outside conditions. Learn about the team through updates on Facebook.
- Kentucky/Indiana: Inspired by a tornado that devastated a small town in Indiana, the University of Louisville, Ball State University, and University of Kentucky are joining forces to design a house that can be a permanent solution for disaster relief. Cheer on the team onFacebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- Middlebury College: With the mission of “living close to home,” students from this Vermont school believe their house will help create a more sustainable future. Stay close to Middlebury College’s progress on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Missouri S&T: Missouri University of Science and Technology students are working on the “Chameleon House” — the school’s fifth Solar Decathlon entry. Watch the team’s house change on Facebook, Twitter, and the team’s blog.
- Norwich: Norwich University students — going by the unofficial name Team Delta T90 — are building a house that will stay comfortable even in Vermont’s cold winter season. Follow the team from the comfort of your home on Facebook.
- Santa Clara: With the guiding motto “solar for all,” Santa Clara University’s team is designing a house that balances the three E’s: efficiency, elegance, and economics. Watch their every move on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, and Wordpress.
- SCI-Arc/Caltech: Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology students are working together on a house that will embrace Southern California’s climate.
- Stanford: Stanford University students hope their “start.home” will revolutionize sustainable living by providing easy customization. Start following Stanford now on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube, and the team’s blog.
- Stevens: Stevens Institute of Technology students are designing the “Enlighten House” — a house with smart technology that adapts to occupants’ behavior. Keep apprised of the team’s progress on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr.
- Team Alberta: Students from the University of Calgary are working on “Borealis” — a house that is integrated into the local ecosystem, affordable for the working population of Canada, and easily transportable. Be wowed by Team Alberta’s progress on Facebook and Twitter.
- Team Austria: The Vienna University of Technology team is designing “LISI,” which they are marketing as the “house of the future.” See what the future holds for Team Austria’s house onFacebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo.
- Team Capitol DC: Students from Catholic University of America, George Washington University, and American University are collaborating on “HARVEST” — a house that produces as much energy as it uses. See how much energy the team is reaping on Facebook andTwitter.
- Team Ontario: Queen’s University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College students are teaming up to make a house for the next generation of homeowners. Follow the team onFacebook and Twitter.
- Team Texas: The “ADAPT” house is a joint effort by The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College to create a new standard for sustainable living in the southwest desert. Learn about the team’s progress on Facebook and Twitter.
- Tidewater Virginia: Hampton University and Old Dominion University are taking a step toward universal design no matter an occupant’s physical limitations with the “Canopy House.” Stay up to date with the team on Facebook and Twitter.
- Las Vegas: Students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas are making the “Desert Sol” — a house that is inspired by the Mojave Desert to use solar and water resources responsibly. Keep up with the team on Facebook and Twitter.
- North Carolina: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte team is creating “AIM” — a house that is adaptive, integrated, and modular — as a way to merge designs of the past and future. The team will be sharing its progress on Facebook and Pinterest.
- U of So Cal: The University of Southern California team’s “fluxHOME” will meet the needs of its occupants in a fast-changing world. See how the team’s house is transforming on Facebookand Twitter.
- West Virginia: Using the unofficial name Team Peak, students from West Virginia University will create a house that brings the outdoors inside. Follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.