A team of ASU and University of New Mexico students and faculty is ready to compete in a 10-day international competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The team will present its design of a house to suit an elderly, active couple Oct. 3 at this year’s Solar Decathlon at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.
Lecturer Philip Horton, the architectural faculty mentor of the team, said the project has been challenging but beneficial to students.
“I believe Solar Decathlon has been a uniquely rewarding experience,” he said. “It has been very challenging, but it has demonstrated the need for teamwork, the importance of being accountable to your colleagues and the power of perseverance.”
The project, named Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium, is just one project of 20 from teams from around the world participating in the biannual event.
The ASU team is composed of faculty and students from various schools, including The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and the Global Institute of Sustainability.
The team’s media manager, architecture graduate student Alia Taqi, said the home has three different modules: a solar canopy, kitchen/flex space and a guest bedroom.
Taqi said the separate and movable modules maximize the efficiency of SHADE.
Taqi also said the team designed the home with the city of Phoenix in mind.
“We wanted to build a home designed to perform in a desert climate,” she said.
The home implemented an evaporative cooling system, which uses 40 percent less energy than a traditional air conditioning system, Taqi said.
It was a good learning experience working with professionals in the industry and learning how to collaborate with different people and personalities, she said.
Resource Furniture, a company whose goals are aligned with those of ASUNM, fully furnished SHADE.
Resource Furniture President Ron Barth said the company sells furniture that is completely transformable and serves multiple functions.
“A more sustainable and ecologically more efficient life is something we support,” he said.
Barth said the company had a great experience working with the ASUNM team.
“They took a lot of criticism about the floor plan, but they took it like champs,” he said. “They listened. I have to give my kudos to ASUNM.”
Horton said the team had issues throughout the project but was ultimately able to overcome each obstacle.
“There have been numerous challenges during the Solar Decathlon experience, including issues with finding support, collaborating across disciplines and across universities and maintaining team unity through the summers,” he said.
The event will be open to the public each Thursday through Sunday.
After the event, SHADE is scheduled to be on display at UNM for a few months before it will be put on display in central Phoenix as part of the city’s PHX Renews sustainable living project.
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