A Twist: Harnessing the Sun to Combat Global Warming

Crete House model picture
CRETE House. (Image: Team WashU)

A team of students from Sam Fox School and the School of Engineering & Applied Science are preparing for Solar Decathalon 2017. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the biennial competition challenges university teams from around the world to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses. Winners will be selected on the basis of design excellence and innovation; energy and water efficiency, and market potential. Each structure must be capable of running typical household functions using only global solar radiation. Any other energy sources, such as batteries or AC grid energy, must be offset by an equal or greater amount of energy produced. Though the decathalon is is still six months away, Team WashU has been hard at work for nearly two years on its entry, Crete House. Meanwhile, computer science students worked to develop a custom operating system for the house. In all, more that 100 students have participated. “Solar Decathlon is a big challenge, but also a great educational tool,” says I-CARES associate professor Hongxi Yin, . “Students integrate cutting-edge architectural research with structural engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing, computer science and biology. But the larger goal is to prepare students to face the future. How do we serve the community? How do we increase efficiency? And how do we help to solve global warming and environmental issues?”

Learn more details about the Solar Decathalon 2017 at The Source website.