UC Davis has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 20 universities that will compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon to design and build a modern solar-powered home.
The competition in October 2015 will take place at UC Irvine and will feature teams of about 20 students and scientists from universities around the country such as Stanford and Yale universities as well as nearby competitor Sacramento State.
The UCD team will consist of students in engineering, design, landscape architecture, agriculture, medicine and business, said Frank Loge, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCD, and principal investigator for the team.
The team also will bring several licensed contractors and architects onto the project, and will involve participation from volunteers in the community, Loge added.
While the DOE is providing a $50,000 grant to the UCD team, another $700,000 at minimum is needed for a team to participate, Loge said. Planning is underway for fundraising in the next several months.
The UCD team’s solar home would be built on campus in the next nine months to have the bugs worked out, he said, and then would be disassembled, transported to the competition site, and reassembled for the competition.
Some of the prize groups include a people’s choice prize as well as an affordability prize, in which Loge is particularly interested.
“We’re very interested in building housing for transient populations such as farm laborers, emergency housing for FEMA, or even for people working in the North Dakota oil fields,” Loge said. “By making the house affordable, it opens the zero net energy capability to a broader population around the world.”
The competition specifies a 640- to 1,000-square-foot home with a list of mandatory amenities such as a certain-sized dining room to host a dinner and sleeping quarters.
Loge hopes to commercialize design innovations from the experience and build a small solar demonstration community that reaches a broader spectrum of income levels.
An estimated 200 to 500 students would learn about the project in a classroom setting in subjects such as agriculture and business, he added.
— On the Net: www.solardecathlon.gov/index.html
— Reach Jason McAlister at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8052.