Georgia Tech Selected for Solar Decathlon 2007

Tech is one of twenty schools that will compete in the event

The U.S. Department of Energy selected Georgia Tech as one of twenty schools that will compete in the Solar Decathlon 2007 in Washington, DC.

Each team will be awarded $100,000 over two years to support the Solar Decathlon's research goal of reducing the cost of solar-powered homes and advancing solar technology.

The Solar Decathlon is an international competition that brings student teams from universities across the United States, Europe and Canada to compete in designing, building and operating highly energy efficient, completely solar-powered houses. The teams will assemble their homes on the Mall.

Contest rules require that each house generate enough energy from the sun to operate a household, a home-based business and related transportation.

Georgia Tech's team will by led by College of Architecture professors Chris Jarrett, Ruchi Choudhary and Franca Trubiano. They will act as project managers for an interdisciplinary team of students who will be assembled to create the home.

"Building Ecology and Emerging Technologies is a new study track within Master's of Science program in the College of Architecture and it offered an impetus to submit a bid for the Decathlon," said Trubiano. "We thought the Solar Decathlon could be a project that would structure, organize and then propel the Building Ecology and Emerging Technologies study track."

"One of the terrific things about this project is we're collaborating with both the College of Engineering and the College of Sciences," said Jarrett.

The Georgia Tech team will be truly multidisciplinary with collaborators from the College of Architecture, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Center for Biological Inspired Design (CBID) and the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development.

Teams are judged in ten different categories, seven of which focus on energy efficiency; others include design and comfort of the house. The team with the most points - the most energy-efficient and innovatively designed house - wins.

"Our faculty, staff and facilities are going to be our strengths," said Jarrett. "Our Advanced Wood Products Lab and our expertise across the campus will also make our team very competitive."

"This is the kind of project where getting to the finish line isn't the goal," said Trubiano. "We are in this to win."

The Georgia Tech team is already starting to prepare for the Decathlon by preparing to raise money and sponsors for the event. The team is also looking for space around campus to begin building.

"One of the major starting points is fundraising and that's where we are now," said Jarrett. "We need to deliver a fundraising report and know where the funding is coming from by mid March."

Other universities participating in the 2007 Solar Decathlon are California Polytechnic State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Kansas State University, Lawrence Technological University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, Team Montreal - Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Universite de Montreal, McGill University (Canada), Technische Universitat Darmstadt (Germany), Texas A&M University, Pennsylvania State University, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Spain), University of Cincinnati, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Missouri-Rolla and the University of Texas at Austin.

The Solar Decathlon takes place every other year; the 2005 winner was the University of Colorado.