MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that Middlebury College has been selected to participate in Solar Decathlon 2011, in which 20 teams of college and university students will compete to design, build and operate the most affordable, attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The competition takes place on the National Mall of Washington, D.C., where the finished homes are built and displayed for judging.
"This is a remarkable accomplishment by our students," said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz. "They have risen to the challenge and defied the odds to compete with a field of much larger colleges and universities-many with programs and professional schools in architecture and engineering. We will be following our students' progress and supporting their goal with pride and enthusiasm."
More than 50 students, led by a core team of juniors Addison Godine, Joseph Baisch and Alex Jopek and sophomore Astrid Schanz-Garbassi, have contributed to the project. The students were instrumental in involving experts within and beyond the college community, from faculty in the physics department and pre-architecture program to practicing architects, engineers and solar energy specialists throughout the state. Members of the team also took part in special winter and spring term courses on solar technologies, systems strategies and schematic design. The courses were team-taught by visiting faculty who helped the students develop the concepts and materials for their final proposal.
"Team Middlebury is led by the college," said Andrea Murray, faculty adviser and visiting lecturer in architecture, "and includes local architects, engineers and green businesses. This really distinguishes us in the competition."
The Solar Decathlon was established in 2002, with subsequent competitions in 2005, 2007 and 2009. The 2011 competition is the first that Middlebury has entered. True to its name, the decathlon consists of 10 contests designed to gauge the environmental performance and livability of each team's submission. The contests cover everything from architecture, market appeal and engineering to comfort level, appliances and home entertainment. One of the key criteria for the winning team is that each home produces as much or more energy than it consumes.
Addison Godine says the Middlebury team traveled to Washington last fall to view the 2009 competitors firsthand. "Our biggest issue was that the houses did not seem like the kind where a family wants to live," he said. "We wanted to create a comfortable house that feels like a home-and also fits the demanding sustainability criteria of the competition." Godine also pointed out that because "a very expensive house is not a sustainable solution," the DOE has made affordability part of the competition this year, and that will be an important feature of the Middlebury project.
For more information on Middlebury's Solar Decathlon 2011 team, visit the team Web site at http://www.middlebury.edu/sustainability/design/solardec or contact Blair Kloman in College Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-443-5483.
The Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon site is here: http://www.solardecathlon.gov/