CU Solar Decathlon Team To Unveil Design, Kick Off Construction On June 13

Published: June 6, 2005

University of Colorado students will publicly unveil the design and kick off construction of their solar home June 13 as part of the second international Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Solar Decathlon Project Coordinator Cecile Warner of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will join CU, college and community officials at the "house raising" ceremony, which is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Louisville Home Depot, 1200 Dillon Road. The event is free and open to the public.

The Solar Decathlon, first held in 2002, is a triennial student competition to design and build the best zero-energy solar home. CU currently holds the first-place trophy for the event, which comprises 10 contests ranging from the home's overall design, livability and aesthetic appeal to the quality of its lighting, hot water and refrigeration, and its ability to power an electric car.

This year's contest, which will be held Oct. 7-16 in Washington, D.C., involves students from 18 universities in the United States, Canada and Spain. About 30 architecture and engineering students are collaborating on the CU entry with professors Julee Herdt of architecture and Michael Brandemuehl of engineering serving as advisers.

The public is invited to attend the kick-off event to learn more about renewable energy, environmentally friendly building materials, and CU's plans to defend its trophy in the 2005 decathlon

Construction of the solar home will continue through the summer in the parking lot of the Louisville Home Depot. The completed house will then be transported to Washington, D.C., for the competition on the National Mall.

The CU home will be an affordable, modular "green alternative." Building materials include strong, durable construction alternatives to petroleum-based materials and read like a health food menu: soy, wheat, corn, flax, sunflower, canola, coconut and coffee, to name a few.

Construction of CU's home got under way in March when students built 20 bio-based structurally insulated panels, or bio-SIPS, for the 800-square foot home. In May, students oversaw construction of a steel chassis, on which the home will be built and transported to Washington, D.C. Participants in the June 13 ceremony will help to place the first bio-SIP wall panel in place on the floor of the chassis.

In addition to the DOE, other sponsors of the 2005 Solar Decathlon include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, BP Solar, DIY Network, the American Institute of Architects and National Home Builders Association.

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