CU-Boulder's Two-Time Decathlon Champs Go For Win No. 3 With Thursday Installation Of State-Of-The-Art Solar Panels

August 2, 2007

Roof-integrated photovoltaic panels will be installed today by University of Colorado at Boulder students on the school's latest Solar Decathlon entry as part of a project update for the fall competition, the third of three competitions to date that CU-Boulder won previously in 2002 and 2005.

The defending champions - with new student engineers at the helm - will describe what promises to be the team's most innovative Solar Decathlon entry. The sponsors and student participants will give a brief project update at 10 a.m. today while installation of the solar system gets underway.

"We're at a critical and exciting stage of the project," said Michael Brandemuehl, faculty adviser to the team for the third consecutive competition. "Together with our partners, we are looking forward to sharing updates on the progress and features of this remarkable project."

Xcel Energy and McStain Neighborhoods are partnering with the 2007 University of Colorado Solar Decathlon team. Xcel Energy, the nation's No. 1 provider of wind power, is the primary sponsor of the team, contributing $200,000 toward the zero-energy solar home being designed and built by CU-Boulder students. McStain Neighborhoods is providing construction guidance and sponsoring the construction site at 4217 W. 116th Way in Bradburn Village, Westminster, where McStain is building the largest solar-powered neighborhood in Colorado.

Special features of this year's CU-Boulder home include building-integrated photovoltaic panels, which will provide a waterproof roofing shell while collecting all of the energy needed to power the home; a ductless heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system with architecturally integrated heat exchangers; and a mechanical spine in which the plumbing and HVAC system are centralized in a completely modular, prefabricated, structural core.

The competition home will be moved from Bradburn Village to Washington, D.C. Once there, the home - along with those of 19 other universities from the United States, Canada and Europe - will be tested in 10 contests measuring the homes' performance based on everyday energy use. The team houses in the "solar village" on Washington's National Mall will be open to the public Oct. 12 to Oct. 20, except for Oct. 17 when the houses are closed for judging.

About University of Colorado Solar Decathlon Team

The University of Colorado Solar Decathlon team comprises about 30 students from the fields of engineering and architecture who are collaborating to design and build a home powered completely by solar energy. The CU team won the first-place trophies in the first two Solar Decathlon competitions, which were sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2002 and 2005. For more information, visit the CU team's Web site at or the competition Web site at

About McStain Neighborhoods

McStain Neighborhoods is a Colorado-based developer and home builder recognized both regionally and nationally for its environmentally responsible community design and building practices. For more than 40 years, McStain has created neighborhoods of enduring value that connect people to each other and to the natural environment on Colorado's Front Range. McStain Neighborhoods also is the only home builder that has been invited to build in all of Denver's premier redevelopment projects: Lowry, Stapleton, Belmar and Platt Park. For more information about McStain, call (303) 494-5900 or visit

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at