Third Team for Solar Inspires Creativity
Sustainable house returns to campus with innovation
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 10:09
How do you picture living in 20 years? Will you use a fingerprint scanner instead of a doorknob? Will you be riding a hover board to enter your house instead of walking?
The Santa Clara Solar Decathlon team has yet again secured a spot in the 2013 competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. Having previously entered in 2007 and 2009, they placed third in both competitions.
“We’re planning on a completely automated smart home controls design where the house actively responds to changes in occupancy, lighting, temperature, and incoming weather forecasts, to suit individual users’ preferences,” project manager Jake Gallau said.
As the team prepares for the competition, by developing a comprehensive health and safety plan and working with local construction companies, they are now working on constructing a brand new solar house for next year. Two of their main emphases this year are making the solar house affordable and accessible.
Essentially, the team is trying to downsize the cost from $450,000 spent in 2009, to $250,000 for this upcoming year. Although the actual cost of the house will be decreased, the team is still hoping to raise anywhere from one million to one and a half million dollars to help with costs of wages and transportation to the competition.
“Affordability has become a part of the competition, and for good reason — we want to make our house more than just a showpiece or concept, we want to make it into something practical and accessible for the average American,” said Gallau.
The team is also emphasizing that any student can volunteer to help the project and so far, they have more than 200 students involved in building, planning, and constructing the house. There are approximately 400 people on the team roster this year, 30 of those that contribute weekly and 100 of those that have contributed or contribute quite often.
One of the goals beyond affordability that the students are aiming for is to utilize outside space more, since that was a big hit back in 2009. Although much of the design is being kept secret, the team plans to release the name of the solar house in the following weeks. Their finalized design plans are also due in October to the Department of Energy.
Gallau also stated in an email, “We’ve reached out to the art school already for help with our branding, and currently have a series of classes being taught in the business school dedicated to developing our marketing and communications plan.”
“Marketing, communication, fundraising and a slew of aesthetic concerns all need to be tackled, ideally by non-engineers,” added Gallau.
Contact Katherine Chow at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4849.