Tech Places Sixth in Solar House Competition

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Teri Nagel
College of Architecture
Contact Teri Nagel
404-385-2156

Friday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Department of Energy announced Georgia Tech took sixth place in its debut showing in the Solar Decathlon, a collegiate competition in designing, building and operating completely solar-powered houses.

"We are so proud of the strong performance," says Doug Allen, Interim Dean of the College of Architecture. "The tremendous effort put forth by students, faculty and supporters reflects a deep commitment on behalf of Georgia Tech and the College of Architecture to move universal, sustainable design and building technologies to market."

Encompassing leading-edge research in sustainable technologies; architecture, engineering, and design challenges; business management; and interdisciplinary communications; the effort has allowed students and faculty to craft a comprehensive, sustainable approach to living. The aim is to educate builders and consumers about energy-conserving options and alternate energy source possibilities as concerns over our dependence on fossil-fuel energy sources deepen worldwide.

"This is more than a competition, it is also a truly unique exhibition," Allen continued. "In many ways the honor is in the invitation to participate and the value is in the results of the research and design collaboration. Producing this kind of collaboration among students and faculty is very important but very difficult in the classroom. This project required a multi-disciplinary team of students in architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial design, building construction, and management to successfully produce a zero-energy solar house.

Houses were put to the test October 13 through 19, requiring that each house generate enough energy from the sun to operate a household, a home-based business and related transportation needs. "Georgia Tech has made a strong showing which is great for any team and even better for first timers such as us," said Solar Decathlete and architecture graduate student Arseni Vaizaitesv. "Being a part of the Georgia Tech team has been an unparalleled educational opportunity for me. Getting to know Solar Decathletes from other schools and sharing technologies has created a close-knit village of friends."

In addition to more than 100 students and faculty who participated in the project, the broader Solar Decathlon team included many sponsors and volunteers who helped the team by way of financial support, in-kind materials, transportation and labor.

The house will return to Atlanta late this month to be recommissioned and opened for the public to tour.