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2009 Solar Decathlon Officially Kicks Off in California

kickoff

Let the competition begin! San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed helped officially kick off the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon for Team California at Santa Clara University.

“Young innovators like the Solar Decathlon team from Santa Clara University and California College of the Arts showcase the talent and creativity that this region fosters,” said Mayor Reed. “The 2007 team showed the world how solar homes can be practical, livable, and attractive. I’m looking forward to another successful effort in 2009.”

About 200 guests, sponsors, faculty, staff, and students attended the event on April 3 to get a preview of the plans for the competition, which takes place at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in October. Blueprints, animations, and models of the structure highlighted the unique architecture and helped people visualize the design of the home.

Team California is steering away from the box shape of a typical home, used for all of the houses that competed in the last competition. They’re also strategically placing windows around the house to take advantage of the San Francisco Bay Area’s 300 annual days of sunshine.

“We’re trying to show that you don’t have to sacrifice beauty to have an energy-efficient house,” said Allison Kopf, SCU sophomore and project manager.

Santa Clara University’s collaboration with California College of Arts addresses a handicap SCU faced in the 2007 Solar Decathlon competition: Then, as well as being the smallest school in the competition, SCU was the only school without an architecture school. But SCU surprised the world when it won third place, beating out top universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and two-time decathlon-winner University of Colorado at Boulder.

Every two years, the DOE selects 20 college/university teams from around the world to design, build, and operate the most energy-efficient, attractive, and comfortable house that’s completely powered by solar energy.

Team California still needs $250,000 to help with construction, supplies, and traveling costs. Students plan to hold a golf tournament fundraiser in Morgan Hill on Friday, May 22. Click here for more information.

Click here for photos from the April 3 kick-off celebration.

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