U of L, UK Students to Participate in International Solar Building Contest

by Erica Peterson on January 30, 2012

A team of students from the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Ball State University has been chosen to participate in a prestigious international competition. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon requires teams to compete to construct the best solar home.

The Solar Decathlon gives teams nearly two years to design, market and construct an affordable 600 to 1000 square foot house powered solely by solar energy. And that’s the easy part of the competition. Then, the teams have to find a way to transport their work to the competition in California.

Andrew Marsh is the Assistant Director of U of L’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. He says one of the requirements is that the materials be affordable and commercially available.

“Everything that they’re putting together is based on products and solutions that are on the shelf,” he said. “So what they’re working with is currently available offerings, in terms of the technology and capability of building materials, design, appliances, etc.”

Marsh says then the Conn Center can further develop those innovations in their laboratories.

U of L engineering professor Mark McGinley is the project’s faculty leader. He says the project is a great opportunity for students from all disciplines—not just engineering students.

“And so it takes them way beyond what we could normally do in the classroom environment, that’s number one,” McGinley said. “Number two, it showcases a lot of the techniques and the technologies that we’re developing at the Conn Center and a number of the other laboratories at the University of Louisville here.”

The team includes students from multiple disciplines, including fine arts, communications and business.

The Solar Decathalon will be held in fall 2013 in Irvine, California.

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