Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, October 2, 2006, Vol. 7, No. 2


SCU Solar Decathlon team prepares for 2007 competition

The team will be honing their design significantly before they break ground—probably in December—for the approximately 600-square-foot home in the former location of the batting cages in Buck Shaw Stadium. The house not only has to look good, but it also has to be able to be transferred to a flatbed truck to travel cross-country to the Mall in Washington, D.C., which is where the competition takes place. And it must be functional.

The home will be judged in 10 areas, including aesthetics, engineering, and its ability to produce enough solar electricity for multiple tasks. For example, the house needs to remain at a near-constant temperature in the unpredictable fall weather of the nation’s capital, and among other things, team members must also be able to do the following using only power generated by their home:

  • Wash and dry a dozen towels for two days;
  • Cook and serve meals for four days;
  • Clean dishes using a dishwasher for four days;
  • Power a TV/video player for up to six hours a day;
  • Heat 15 gallons of hot water to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes or fewer for the shower test.

Excess electricity will be used to run an electric car. The team will earn points for the number of miles that the car runs on electricity generated by the house.

Through its environmentally-friendly, sustainable design, the SCU entry will not only be functional, but will also be a way of technologically promoting the Jesuit ideal of social justice, he said. “That comes from the heart of the school, really.”

Learn more about Santa Clara’s team.

Learn more about the Solar Decathlon competition.