The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Thursday it has selected 20 universities to participate in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, a competition involving the building of solar houses. Missouri University of Science and Technology was one of the universities chosen.
Missouri S&T has built four solar houses for previous competitions, which were all held in Washington, D.C. In 2013, the Solar Decathlon will be hosted by the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. No dates were announced, but the competitions are usually held every two years in the fall.
The Missouri S&T Solar House Team is finishing its designs and will begin building their 1,000-square-foot house on campus property this summer. “We are trying to focus on engineering, energy efficiencies and adaptable living – with moveable parts, including a grid wall, adjustable solar panels and transforming furniture,” says Eric Mullis, a sophomore in computer engineering from St. Louis.
All of the teams must ship their houses (and, of course, solar panels) to the contest site, where they are then reassembled. The houses are evaluated by judges in 10 categories. Meanwhile, the public is invited to tour the homes.
The DOE typically gives grants to the teams selected to cover a chunk of the costs associated with building a solar house and participating in a competition. The teams must raise funds to cover additional costs.
The four solar homes S&T has built in the past are now located in S&T’s Solar Village.