Santa Clara University


Solar Decathlon Team Builds Excitement

Solar Decathletes

The SCU-CCA 2009 Solar Decathlon team was busy all summer with a myriad of details relating to Refract House, our entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s competition in Washington, D.C. next fall. Students from SCU and our partner in this venture, California College of the Arts in San Francisco, met weekly to hash out details for building the 800 square foot totally solar-powered home, considering everything from photovoltaic optimization to logo selection, and from insulation options to pond evaporation rates.

“The students have gotten a lot of the preliminary research and decision-making accomplished, so we are in excellent shape as we move toward construction early next year,” said Dr. Tim Hight, SCU faculty project manager for the team and chair of the mechanical engineering department.

“This was a key point in development for us,” said Allison Kopf, student project manager. “With the architectural design agreed upon, we were able to finalize the floor plan, decide which products to use, and build relationships with sponsors. We got our feet wet working with a number of different kinds of technology, and it was a great time because we really came together as one team, rather than as individual groups from SCU and CCA.”

Noah Greer, CCA student, agrees: “I think a huge part of what we accomplished this summer was opening up communication between our schools and gaining an understanding of how we can best work together—especially when things get challenging.” As Jeffrey Abercrombie, student technical lead for the project, notes, “Together, both the house and the team took on an identity that is of championship caliber. It was a big time for our Solar Decathlon Team as architects and engineers came together to bring a revolutionary look and ingenuity to green building.”

The team is actively seeking donations from individual and industry partners and welcomes monetary and in-kind gifts to support our effort to build Refract House and advance sustainable design and engineering.

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