An interdisciplinary team of Carnegie Mellon students has designed and constructed a solar-powered house to compete in the first Solar Decathlon, Sept. 27 – Oct. 4, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The Solar Decathlon is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to educate consumers about solar energy and energy-efficient products that are or will be available in the future. By involving student teams, the DOE also hopes to “provide stimulus to the next generation of researchers, architects, engineers and builders as they prepare to begin their careers.”
Carnegie Mellon’s team is one of 14 from universities around the country competing in the event. Solar Decathlon participants will attempt to depend completely on the renewable energy collected from the sun to power their structures, which include a computer-equipped home office. During daytime hours, the solar-powered houses will store energy from the sun in batteries for use at night.
Each house must also collect enough solar power to operate an electrically powered Ford Th!nk which the students will use to get around town. After the competition, the golf cart type transportation device will be used by the university’s Facilities Management Services as an environmentally friendly maintenance vehicle.