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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UF team sets open house for solar home that will compete internationally

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Solar Decathlon team will hold several events this week to showcase its project: a student-designed solar home that will compete internationally this summer.

The events culminate in an open house Friday where the public can tour the home that will compete in Solar Decathlon Europe, an international competition designed to advance innovation and research in solar, sustainable and industrialized housing.

The Project: RE: FOCUS team will encourage the UF community to “Make a Change, Not a Footprint” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Plaza of the Americas with an expo featuring solar panels, renderings of the home, the home’s floor plan staked out to scale, and other information on the project.

On Thursday morning, Project RE:FOCUS will take over the 34th Street wall to inspire the Gainesville community members to make a small change in their lives to reduce their carbon footprint.

Friday’s open house will feature tours of the home, information about the project and presentations by College of Design, Construction and Planning Dean Christopher Silver, team leader and building construction professor Robert Ries and student team leader and doctoral student Dereck Winning.

“The Solar Decathlon gives students from across the university the opportunity to work together on a real-world project, and Friday will be the first opportunity for the team to present their work to the sponsors and the community,” Ries said.

The open house will take place at the UF Solar Energy Park, 2610 S.W. 23rd Terrace, from 3 to 6 p.m., with the presentations delivered at 3:15 p.m. Those who attend are encouraged to carpool to promote sustainability and due to limited parking.

The UF team, comprised of more than 125 students from four colleges and eight disciplines, will compete in Madrid this June in 10 categories that include solar power, innovation, sustainability and communication. The team’s entry fuses innovation with the design of the historic Florida Cracker House to further the field of solar energy and inspire solutions for sustainable living that fit market needs.

For updates on the house, visit

Writing Credits: Kathryn Watson