The sun is shining on a team of University of Calgary students, who once again will have the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in the fall of 2013 – the third consecutive time the team has been chosen to participate in this biennial competition. The team placed 10th out of 19 teams in the previous contest in September 2011.
“It’s an amazing experience,” says business student and Team Alberta member Alexandre Ste-Marie. “It’s not often in your university career that you get to partner with engineers, architects, environmental scientists and business people like myself.” A multi-disciplinary team setting is the best way to apply the skills and knowledge you learn in school, he says.
Next year’s contest takes place in Irvine, California. The public will be invited to watch the 20 collegiate teams as they assemble and operate their homes. A second Canadian team with students from Queen’s University, Carleton University and Algonquin College was also selected to take part. Each team’s design concept, execution and operation will be judged based on 10 criteria, ranging from architecture and lighting to overall affordability and sustainability.
The latter two concepts are the backbone of Team Alberta’s latest design (seen in the photo above), a modular home that will be easy to assemble and transport and which addresses the housing needs of remote communities and industrial camps like those in the Fort McMurray region.
“We’ve always tried to solve a specific problem rather than just create another cookie-cutter house,” says Mr. Ste-Marie. Participating in the competition “allows us to really push the boundary of sustainable design and to showcase the latest and greatest technologies out there.”