Purdue one of 20 teams in 2011 Solar Decathlon
The conceptual model of the Purdue Solar Decathlon Teams flex/home.
Purdue University will be one of 20 teams competing in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2011. Forty teams submitted proposals. Several of the team members, including the project manager, are from the College of Technology.
For three weeks, teams of college and university students from across the United States and the world will compete to build and operate the most affordable, attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. To prepare for the onsite portion of the competiiton, a group of Purdue students and faculty have been working since the summer of 2009 to make the project a reality.
Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon highlights affordable homes that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems that are available today. It is called a decathlon because there are 10 categories on which structures are judged: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and energy balance.
Kevin Rodgers, a graduate student in mechanical engineering technology, is the Purdue team’s project manager. He coordinates the team’s efforts with the Department of Energy and competition leaders.
“This whole project is about how you harmonize with your surroundings,” he said. “How do you use the sun, water, and plants and create ways for them to perform things for the house.”
The concept of the house has been approved by the competition organizers. A model of the structure will be part of a Solar Decathlon exhibit at the National Building Museum this summer.
“I like that ours is more of a traditional design. It would fit right into any neighborhood,” Rodgers said. “For these types of buildings to be successful, they have to have broad appeal. You want a person who is touring the home to want to live in the house. The side effect is that they wouldn’t have to pay utility bills.”
As the final project takes shape, it will become part of an educational experience for many students. Interior design students in the College of Liberal Arts will assist with creating a comfortable living environment. Students involved with Purdue’s EPICS program will be enlisted to assist with communications efforts. And students in several disciplines within the Colleges of Technology and Engineering will work on implementing the vision of the original proposal.
The next phase for the Purdue team includes fund-raising and building. Between now and the actual event, the team will spend more than $500,000 in development, supplies, and transportation. A successful fund-raising effort will ensure that the Purdue team is able to purchase supplies, test its systems, and deliver the finished product to Washington, D.C., for the competition.
For more information about donating to the project, contact the College of Technology Office of Advancement at email@example.com or call (888) 428-1489.
See the Purdue team’s flex/home.
Read more about the Solar Decathlon competition.