Missouri S&T earns second place finish in Solar Decathlon with accessible housing design for disabled veterans

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On April 30, 2021

A rendering of S&T’s 2021 solar house. Image submitted by the SDELC.

Missouri S&T’s Solar House Design Team recently earned a second-place finish in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. The virtual competition was held in mid-April.

Missouri S&T’s house, named the Freedom to Live Independently, Green Housing for Tomorrow (FLIGHT) Home, earned second place in the Suburban Single-Family Housing Division. Seventy-two teams from 12 countries competed by designing energy-efficient homes that were presented virtually to energy and construction industry experts.

The team says the FLIGHT home represents a net-zero, single-family housing project that combines an environmentally friendly design with technology to grant veterans who have lost lower limbs full mobility in their daily activities. The design includes systems that aim to make cooking, using the restroom and getting dressed easier.

The team’s design brief states that it would locate the home where there would be optimal access to resources for veterans. S&T’s home was designed for the Rolla area due to its close proximity to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as well as several veteran organizations such as Disabled American Veterans.

The team’s advisors are Dr. Stuart Baur, associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at S&T, and Dr. Heath Pickerill, assistant teaching professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at S&T. The team also received design feedback from Daniel Vargas, president and founder of Operation Triage, and Matt Belcher, an officer in Operation Triage. Operation Triage is a non-profit organization that provides home remodeling and renovations to disabled veterans, first responders and active duty service members.

The Solar House Design Team is one of the 19 student-run teams in Missouri S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC). The SDELC, housed in the Kummer Student Design Center, provides teams with computer design laboratories, a manufacturing shop, office space and logistical support. Design teams mirror small start-up companies that plan large-scale projects, organize into departments, raise funds, communicate their ideas and solve open-ended design challenges. Teams compete annually at events against other collegiate teams from around the country and the world. For more information about the teams, visit design.mst.edu.

The following S&T students are a part of the team:

Melorin Azimzadeh, a senior in architectural and civil engineering from Greenwood, Missouri

Thomas Bleakney, a junior in business and management systems from Lisbon, Ohio

Daryl Gichui, a senior in environmental engineering from Liberty, Missouri

Auburn Hughes, a sophomore in engineering management from Kearney, Missouri

Ian James, a junior in electrical engineering from Troy, Illinois

Alyssa Marshall, a senior in architectural engineering from Willard, Missouri

Erika McDaniel, a sophomore in geological engineering from Wildwood, Missouri

Aditya Prabhu, a junior in architectural and civil engineering from St. Louis

Troy Savaiano, a senior in electrical engineering from Liberty, Missouri

Stephen Simmons, a senior in architectural and civil engineering from Lohman, Missouri.

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,600 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 99 different degree programs in 40 areas of study and is ranked by CollegeFactual as the best public university to study engineering. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.

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