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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

UF To Represent U.S. In International Solar Decathlon

Two years of planning, designing and building will end with the final phase of competition for the Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid, Spain this summer. The UF Solar Decathlon Team will be one of only two U.S. universities in the competition. For the decathlon, 19 university teams from around the world compete against each other to build the best 797-square-foot modular sustainable home, according to criteria in 10 different areas.

UF’s design is unique among the competition as it takes inspiration from Florida’s own vernacular buildings, specifically the Florida Cracker House. The UF house includes passive, natural techniques – such as a central breezeway, porch and elevated platform – for a design approach that integrates traditional means of housing with innovative solar technologies to create a house that is both efficient and functional.

The competition itself has brought together students and faculty from all over the university, from as many as eight different disciplines. There is a core group of about 15 students working on the project, but approximately 120 students have had a hand in the designing or planning. Students were separated into teams with some working on design, some on communications and some on construction, according to their specific skill set.

The house is being constructed by the students at a University of Florida site, appropriately known as the Energy Park, and construction will continue this spring. Steel and wood flooring have been delivered to the site recently and students have begun construction on the Project RE:FOCUS house. Interiors and mechanical systems are the next construction tasks, followed by the deck and outdoor area.

To learn more, or to join the effort to showcase the talents of UF students in this international competition, please visit their website.