A team of students from West Virginia University has been selected to participate in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, hosted by the United States Department of Energy, one of only 20 teams selected for the worldwide competition of college and university students challenged to design, build and operate the most affordable, attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house they can.
Each team selected to participate in the competition receives a $100,000 grant from the department. The competition has previously taken place on the National Mall of Washington, D.C., where the finished homes are built and displayed for judging.
“I’m ecstatic for this team of students and everyone who has worked on this project,” said President Jim Clements. “It is the epitome of interdisciplinary work that goes to the heart of what West Virginia University is all about – helping make the state and the world a better place through education, research and service. Congratulations to the students and their faculty advisors on their remarkable achievements. I can’t wait to see the solar log cabin come together.”
The interdisciplinary team was led by a group of students from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Students from the College of Creative Arts; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design; and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism came on board since the project started in 2009 and will be integral to making their efforts a success in the competition. Additional assistance was received from faculty and offices across the University.
“I am very proud of the work of our undergraduate engineering students for the leadership they showed to make this happen,” said Warren Myers, associate dean for Academic Affairs in the Statler College. “This was a student-driven activity; it was their vision.”
According to Myers, this project offers exceptional educational opportunities to students in the college and across the WVU campus. In addition to their colleagues in Morgantown, the students are working with representatives from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, which has a research agreement with WVU.
“Receiving this grant provides an opportunity for students in the Statler College, WVU and Tor Vergata to experience working with interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and international project teams,” Myers said.
“This is an opportunity for us to show the world the quality of students at this university,” said Dimitris Korakakis, associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. “A small, dedicated team of students started this project. We will need hundreds of students from across the two universities to make it a success.”
Korakakis serves as the project team’s faculty mentor.
WVU’s entry in the competition, the Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge project, or PEAK, will combine modern smart-home technologies into a rustic-style log home. This is the first time a log-style home has been accepted into the competition.
“This is an incredible honor for our students and for this university,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Their efforts on this international stage serve to position WVU among America’s elite energy universities.”
The Solar Decathlon was established in 2002, with subsequent competitions in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The 2013 competition is the first that WVU has entered. The decathlon consists of 10 contests designed to gauge the environmental performance and livability of each team’s submission. The contests cover everything from architecture, market appeal and engineering to comfort level, appliances and home entertainment. One of the key criteria for the winning team is that each home produces as much or more energy than it consumes. The maximum budget for the house is $250,000.
CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon; Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
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