AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The U.S. Department of Energy has selected The University of Texas’ School of Architecture as one of 20 collegiate teams to compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon.
The Solar Decathlon challenges college students to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. Student teams are expected to blend affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
Over the next two years, the 20 Solar Decathlon teams will design, construct and test their houses before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2015 competition site in Irvine, Calif.
As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in 10 different contests ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance, but the valuable hands-on experience may be the contest’s biggest benefit.
The UT Austin team will be led by Professor Michael Garrison, Assistant Professor Petra Liedl and lecturer Adam Pyrek, all in the School of Architecture. Faculty members from the School of Architecture will serve as project coordinators and provide leadership in design, energy, water and lighting coordination.
The UT team is working in conjunction with the Technische Universität München (TUM) led by Professor Werner Lang, chair of the Institute of Energy Efficient and Sustainable Design and Building and director of the Center for Sustainable Building. The Institute of Energy Efficient and Sustainable Design and Building is a joint initiative of the TUM Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering. It aims to promote interdisciplinary research among both faculties and other engineering faculties, and to integrate energy efficient design and building as mandatory and elementary module of studies .
In 2013, UT Austin’s School of Architecture developed a working research partnership with TUM through the EnergyXChange Conference. As an outgrowth of the conference, the two universities began working together to develop a joint entry for the 2015 Solar Decathlon competition.