Posts Tagged ‘Appalachian State University’

2 October

Solar Decathlon 2011-Statistics From the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011


If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011:

·         Even though a majority of the competition days were cloudy, seven out of the 19 houses produced more energy than they consumed

·         357,000 house visits were provided to the public during 10 days

·         92,000 votes were cast for the People’s Choice Award, more than five times the number of votes cast during the previous competition

·         A new Affordability Contest was featured, demonstrating the reasonable cost of many energy-saving home improvement products and design solutions available today

·         Approximately 4,000 collegiate students earned valuable experience by building an energy efficient house with peers in other disciplines, helping them prepare to enter the clean energy workforce

·         Collegiate teams from five countries and four continents participated


Solar Decathlon 2011 teams that competed on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park:


Solar Decathlon 2011 Final Scores and Standings

1. Maryland 951.151
2. Purdue 931.390
3. New Zealand 919.058
4. Middlebury College 914.809
5. Ohio State 903.938
6. SCI-Arc/Caltech 899.490
7. Illinois 875.715
8. Tennessee 859.132
9. Team Massachusetts 856.351
10. Canada 836.423
11. Florida Int’l 833.159
12. Appalachian State 832.499
13. Parsons NS Stevens 828.816
14. Tidewater Virginia 774.910
15. Team China 765.471
16. Team Belgium 709.843
17. Team New York 677.356
18. Team New Jersey 669.352
19. Team Florida 619.006

Solar Decathlon 2011 Individual Contest Winners

Affordability (Awarded Tuesday, September 27, 2011) Contest

Empowerhouse of Parsons New School of Design and  Stevens Institute of Technology tied first place with E-Cube of Belgium’s Ghent University.

Empowerhouse of Parson New School of Design and Stevens Institute of Technology shines brightly at night after a stormy day

Stephen Scribner (front) accepts first place in the Affordability Contest on behalf of Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology

and Team Belgium Ghent University’s E-Cube

visitors waiting in line to tour inside the finished E-Cube of Team Belgium Ghent University. This is the only entry of Solar Decathlon with second floor, essentially a building kit for a relatively inexperienced builder.


Belgium Toon Vermeir checks the tight competition stands online in the child’s bedroom on the second floor of E-Cube (but due to lack of handicap/wheelchair accessibility, the second floor was closed off to visitors)

tied for first and earned the full 100 points in the contest by constructing houses estimated to cost $229,890 and $249,568, respectively. New for the Solar Decathlon 2011, the Affordability contest encouraged teams to design and build affordable houses that combine energy efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems. A professional estimator determined the construction cost of each house. Teams earned 100 points for achieving a target construction cost of $250,000 or less. A sliding point scale was applied to houses with estimated construction costs between $250,001 and $600,000.


Appliances (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011) Contest

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Students from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign speaks with the Engineering Jury during judging

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Re_home shine brightly at night, with Washington Monument in the background

took first place and earned 99.955 out of 100 possible points by outperforming the other 18 houses in keeping its refrigerator and freezer cold, washing and drying loads of laundry during the contest week, and running a dishwasher during the competition. The Appliances Contest is designed to mimic the appliance use of an average U.S. house.

Architecture (Awarded Wednesday, September 28, 2011) Contest
Maryland took first place in the Architecture Contest

University of Maryland became the first team to have an electricity meter installed

University of Maryland’s team members celebrate after being presented with First Place in Architecture Contest

and earned 96 points out of a possible 100. A jury of architects judged homes on the aesthetic and functional elements of the home’s design; integration and energy efficiency of electrical and natural light; inspiration and delight to Solar Decathlon visitors; and documentation including drawings, a project manual, and an audiovisual architecture presentation that accurately reflect the constructed project on the competition site.

Comfort Zone (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011) Contest
Ohio State University topped the contestants in the Comfort Zone Contest,

Ohio State University’s enCORE shines brightly at night

The Ohio State University team shows visitors the air supply system of their house, enCORE

with 98.652 out of 100 points for maintaining indoor temperatures between 71 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity below 60 percent.

Communications (Awarded Friday, September 30, 2011) Contest
Middlebury College’s communications efforts,

Middlebury College’s Self-Reliance shines brightly at night after a stormy day

Middlebury College students pose for photo after accepting the first place award for Communication Contest

including communications plans, student-led tours, and team website, were judged by a jury of website and public relations experts, and won the contest with a score of 90 points out of a possible 100 points.

Engineering (Awarded Thursday, September 29, 2011) Contest
New Zealand won the Engineering contest,

New Zealand’s First Light shines brightly at night

New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington celebrate after taking first place in Engineering Contest

which was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers, who determined which solar home best exemplified excellence in functionality, efficiency, innovation, reliability and documentation of its energy systems. New Zealand scored 93 out of a possible 100 points.

Home Entertainment (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011) Contest
Middlebury College earned 98.560 out of a possible 100 points in this contest, which required students to use electricity generated by their solar houses to run interior and exterior lights, a TV, a computer, and a kitchen appliance to boil water. Teams were also required to hold two dinner parties and a movie night for neighbors.

Middlebury College’s student Melissa Segil prepares a dish during a competition dinner party

Hot Water (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011) Contest
Seven teams tied for first and earned the full 100 points in the Hot Water contest’s “shower tests,” which aimed to deliver 15 gallons of hot water in ten minutes or less. Of course, the water was heated by the sun. Tying for top honors in this contest were:  Appalachian State University,  University of Maryland, New Zealand’s Ghent University, Ohio State UniversityParsons NS Stevens, SCI-Arc/Caltech, and Tennessee.

Chelsea Royall, front, Team Design Director of Appalachian State University, talks about her team’s house (The Solar Homestead) on Media Preview Day

New Zealand’s First Light’s dining room

Maryland’s Watershed clear view

   University of TN’s Living Light shines brightly at night

Future homeowners of Empowerhouse of Parson New School of Design & Stevens Institute of Technology  

rainbow seen between SCI-Arc/Caltech’CHIP (left) & Ohio State University’s  enCORE(right)

Energy Balance (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011) Contest
Seven teams tied for first and earned the full 100 points in the Energy Balance contest. Teams earned points for producing at least as much energy as their houses needed during the contest week. The teams accomplished this by balancing production and consumption. Tying for top honors in this contest were:  Florida International,

Illinois, Maryland, New Zealand, Purdue, SCI-Arc/Caltech, and Tennessee.

Market Appeal (Awarded Saturday, October 1, 2011) Contest
Middlebury College won the Market Appeal contest, which evaluated whether the cost-effective construction and solar technology in a team’s design would create a viable product on the open market. Judges gauged market appeal based on three criteria:  livability, marketability and constructability. Middlebury earned 95 points out of a possible 100 as judged by the professional jury.

More about the Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate students from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in. The competition shows consumers how to save money and energy with affordable clean energy products that are available today. The nearly two-year projects culminated in an unprecedented display of affordable green living and design on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park from September 23 – October 2, 2011. The Solar Decathlon also provides participating students with hands-on experience and unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean energy workforce, supporting the Obama Administration’s goal of transitioning to a clean energy economy while saving families and businesses money.

posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


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30 September

Solar Decathlon-Winners of The Communications Contest


Dear Readers,

If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.

Richard King, the Director of the Solar Decathlon for the U.S. Department of Energy, said, “Effective communication skills are critical to helping the public to understand the practical applications of energy-saving technologies and how these innovations can help every American household save money.”

For the Communications Contest, teams earned up to 100 points based on a number of criteria, including: web content quality, appropriateness, originality;video content, including walkthrough information, accessible captioning, clarity of the audio narrative and overall creativity; onsite graphics, photos, signage, and displays quality;message delivery to target audiences and people of all levels;use of innovative methods to engage audiences, including website visitors and people waiting to tour a house.

Middlebury College earned a score of 90 out of a possible 100 points for their Self-Reliance design, placing First in the Communication Contest.  Middlebury College wowed jurors with its video walkthrough, website, and engaging tours.  The Middlebury team demonstrated balanced talent across the entire communications competition, making renewable energy technologies accessible to the public.  Stacy Wilson, one of the contest’s jurors and founder and president of Eloquor Contulting, Inc., a communication firm specializing in web and social technology, commented that “We were inspired by Middlebury College.”  Our reporter (yours truly) of received a very informative interview from a Middlebury College student Melake, showing us that this LAS College team (the only team that is completely composed of non-engineering students)  is quite capable of constructing a comfortable (bordering on luxurious) solar home with tremendous market appeal.  The Self-Reliance is a design with gable roof, two-bedroom, for a family of four, with solar array of 30 panels (producing 7,930 kWh annually),

A look at Middlebury College's Self-Reliance's children's bedroom

Middlebury College house's solar array combines solar panels with a solar hot water heater on the roof of their entry

an air-to-air heat exchanger that circulates air through a network of aluminum ducts and feeds the green wall with condensed moisture, triple-paned windows with cork-insulated frames that have an R-value of 7 and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.53 (which allows them to provide net heat gain over the course of a year).

Middlebury workers prepare the Self-Reliance of Middlebury College for installation of gable roof and PV panels

Appalachian State University came in second with their The Solar Homestead with 89 points.  I arrived at the Solar Decathlon 2011 to interview Appalachian State University’s The Solar Homestead on a rainy day so their ingenious aluminum hat was very well received by all visitors

Appalachian State University's The Solar Homestead shines brightly at night after a stormy day

14-month-old Graysen Black, son of an organizer, gets a preview tour after the opening ceremony, wearing the special aluminum reflective hat by Appalachian State University

to the Solar Decathlon, not only did it serve as a protective device sheltering our heads from the element, but it is also full of information about the design of The Solar Homestead. This affordable and attractive design features outdoor shower, outdoor kitchen, forty-two bifacial PV panels (that supply solar energy while providing filtered daylight), a generous outdoor living space called the Great Porch, an on-demand solar thermal domestic hot water system that uses phase-change materials to provide constant water temperature in compact storage, and a  Trombe wall that is filled with phase-change material to store heat throughout  the day and release it at night.

Bifacial PV panels of Appalachian State's The Solar Homestead above U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Jeffrey Tiller and David Leea


University of Maryland’s Watershed came in third in this contest with a score of 88 points.  Besides the pamphlets, walthrough, and web presentations, University of Maryland also provided the unique presentation of Q & A sessions outside of the Watershed design while visitors were waiting in line to see this home.

University of Maryland's student Justin Huang answers visitors' questions about Watershed design

It sure helped all visitors passing the time while getting a sneak preview of what to expect before they enter this design.  Watershed is inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, searching for a solution to water and energy shortage by managing storm water onsite (filtering pollutants from greywater and minimizing water use) and using the PV and solar thermal arrays, effectiveness of building envelope, and increasing the efficiency of the mechanical system.  Watershed has very  holistic approach to water conservation, recycling, and storm water management, green roof that slows rainwater runoff to the landscape while improving the house’s energy efficiency, a garden, an edible wall system

a clear view of the Watershed design of University of Maryland

, and a composting station to illustrate the potential for improved health, energy, and cost savings with a complete carbon cycle program.  Some of its interesting features  are: the liquid desiccant waterfall serving as a design feature and provides humidity control, a home automation system that monitors and adjusts temperature, humidity, lighting, and other parameters to provide maximum function

visitors waiting in line to see Maryland's Watershed design

with minimal impact on the environment.  Watershed is intended for a working couple that can use the house as home and office, providing the opportunity to telecommute, thus reducing travel expenses in one of the most congested areas of the country.


written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


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5 September

Solar Decathlon (18)-Appalachian State University’s Homestead Design of 2011


Dear Readers,

If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much. We are at a critical juncture in human history when individual effort and participation in the transition into renewable energy age is desperately needed!  Your signature will be very meaningful in helping all earthlings!  For a summary of why we need to switch to power the earth with Wind-Water-Sunlight quickly, reasons are explained by Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson at There are more than sixteen episodes of discussions on FIT (Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program) available at Please feel free to read/listen to them (type in feed-in-tariff in the search box at right).

Today, we will be viewing an affordable, sustainable alternative to the traditional design, the Homestead of Appalachian State University. The isolation of the earlier settlers in the mountains of North Carolina fostered the pioneer spirit of independence and integrity in those who established self-sustaining living/working environment.  The Solar Homestead incorporates these values into a modern net zero energy home, integrating renewable resources and innovative technology into a dwelling that is adaptable, self-sufficient, rugged, affordable, and attractive.  The Homestead design contains a high performance home and modular, technologically advanced outbuilding modules (or OMs) inspired by vernacular lean-to-sheds.  As one approaches the house, one sees the unique solar thermal Trombe wall, which uses phase change materials to selectively heat the interior of the home.  A sliding door is used to provide privacy, storm protection, and summer shading.  A Great Porch formed by seven independent outbuilding modules (or OMs) , creating an inviting and functional entry while providing a venue for casual social gatherings. The solar canopy composed of bifacial solar panels provides filtered daylight, solar energy, and shelter from natural elements.  There is a flexible multi-purpose living space where residents can enjoy a cozy seating area, open kitchen, and an eating nook with a window seat. The furniture can be reconfigured to suit multi functions (kitchen can also function as a home theater). The eight- hundred and sixty- four square foot main house is comprised of two bedrooms and one full bath. The internal core of the house contains mechanical space, laundry, and a full bath. The bathroom is also with a novel solar thermal skylight above that provides hot water for the home. The master and guest bedroom contain built-in storage and a private deck. On the great porch, as one moves toward the flex OM, a one-hundred and twenty square foot structure with a full bath. The flex Om can serve multiple purposes: as a home office, a guest suite, or a cabin getaway (this potentially free standing structure is powered independently from the main house). One also finds a fully functional outdoor kitchen at the Homestead.  Now, let’s have a look at this Homestead design–>


written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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