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SCU wins spot in international solar home building competition

<p>Preliminary design concept</p>

Preliminary design concept

SANTA CLARA, Calif. June 23, 2006. This summer, the halls of Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering are far from quiet. A team of students and faculty are hard at work figuring out how to pull off one of university’s biggest student projects ever: building a solar house. The team from SCU is one of only 20 schools in the world (and the only school farther west than Colorado) participating in the Solar Decathlon, a competition where teams are judged on their ability to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient, solar-powered home. The houses will be on display and judged in Washington, D.C., in October 2007.

“I am excited to be a part of this team because our work here will demonstrate the power and promise of alternative energy,” said SCU engineering student and team member James Bickford. There are budgets to create, a Web site to design, more than half a million dollars to raise, and yes, a house to build before the team even gets to the competition on the National Mall.

The state-of-the-art solar home will be built on the SCU campus and transported cross country to Washington, D.C., where it will become part of a solar village composed of homes designed and built by the Solar Decathlon teams. Among the teams SCU will be competing against are: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cornell University; Texas A&M University; University of Colorado, Denver and Boulder; Pennsylvania State University; and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

The Solar Decathlon teams will be asked to perform a number of tasks to show off the capabilities of their solar homes, including cooking dinner for the judges. The home will also have to generate enough solar energy to power an electric vehicle. The house will be equipped with all the necessary appliances that a modern home requires including a refrigerator, air conditioning, clothes washing and drying machines, a personal computer, oven, radio, and a TV. SCU has teamed up with architecture students from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, to draw up plans for the house. The Cal Poly team won third place overall in the 2005 competition.

About the Solar Decathlon
The Solar Decathlon brings together 20 teams of college and university students from around the globe to participate in an unparalleled solar competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home. In fall 2007, the teams transport their solar houses to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where they form a solar village. The Solar Decathlon is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,397 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all
U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at



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