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Allison Kopf, Solar Decathlon Project Manager

Sunday, Sep. 6, 2009

Junior Allison Kopf has served as the Project Manager for the Solar Decathlon Team since her freshman year at Santa Clara University. Originally from New York City, Kopf is an engineering physics major. She recently switched from computer engineering because of her interest in green technology.

The Solar Decathlon is a competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Solar Decathlon brings together 20 teams from colleges and universities around the world to design, build, and operate the most energy-efficient, attractive, and comfortable solar powered house.

Students from SCU and the California College of the Arts have united as Team California to build Refract House. Inspiration for the house’s name came from a beam of refracted light. Kopf explained that the team tried to go above and beyond competition requirements to make the house more sustainable, like installing a water catchment will collect rainwater for garden and other household uses. Since they are the only team representing California, the Refract House garden will feature native species and edible plants. Reclaimed Redwood lumber was also used in construction.

There are over 200 SCU students who have been involved with the project at some point and then a core group of 25 students who put in more than 70 hours a week, even during the school year. During her free time, which she is lacking at the moment, Kopf enjoys snowboarding and tennis. She also plays the piano and violin and recently performed in the orchestra for a SCU opera production. She also has participated in two immersion trips to Mexico during Thanksgiving break through the Kolvenbach Immersion program.

Kopf emphasizes that every aspect of the Refract House, down the micro-level, is student run. For example, fabric used for couch cushions was designed and hand woven by CCA students. The house will be shipped on September 15th and students will travel to Washington DC soon after. Support Team California and share in the excitement!

By Jennifer Gore, '09, Sustainability Intern

Tags: Curriculum, Energy, Profiles, Research, SCU Alumni, Student Life



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