Blood, sweat, and photovoltaics

Engineering students eager to move their generation away from fossil fuels.

The house they’re building is small, but the SCU engineering students working on it have big ambitions: move their generation away from fossil fuels.

The house is being built as part of the Solar Decathlon, an event held by the U.S. Department of Energy. SCU is one of only 20 schools in the nation chosen—and the only school in California—to participate in the prestigious competition.

When the house is built, it’s going to be trucked across the continent and put on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., next October.

Project manager James Bickford, a junior mechanical engineering major and English minor, says team members see the competition as both a great opportunity to show their stuff as engineers and as a tremendous responsibility. “Being at an engineering school in Silicon Valley, we have the chance to influence a lot of development in the world,” he says.

Having spent the summer on research and planning, this fall SCU students worked with architects to finalize the design for the 600-square-foot house, and they began raising funds to pay for construction. Groundbreaking was slated for the end of February, with the house going up on the former location of the batting cages in Buck Shaw Stadium.

The house will be judged in 10 areas, including aesthetics, engineering, and its ability to produce enough solar power for multiple tasks—from keeping the house warm to washing and drying a dozen towels for two days, and from cooking meals and cleaning dishes to providing hot water for the shower. Excess electricity will be used to run an electric car.

Find out more about the project at http://www.scusolar.org. KCS & SBS

post-image Fun in the sun: SCU students have begun work on this house as part of the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. 3D Model: Gerardo Buendia
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