We are a group of UC Berkeley and University of Denver students including architects, engineers, and designers who are constructing a sustainable, net-zero home as part of the 2017 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition held in October in Denver, Colorado.
About the Competition
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon showcases innovative solar-powered houses designed, built, and operated by collegiate teams. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends technology, market potential, and design excellence with smart energy production and maximum efficiency.
The Solar Decathlon provides participating students with hands-on experience and unique training that prepares them to enter the clean energy workforce. Solar Decathlon participants are more likely to work in the clean energy field, start clean energy businesses, and influence others to pursue energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
The Solar Decathlon is structured to reward projects that pursue thoughtful and impactful innovation within a fully functional competition prototype. Teams are expected to demonstrate how the techniques, products, and solutions integrated into the prototype can significantly impact the residential housing market in the United States.
Teams must present a design that is appropriate for a target market of the team’s choosing while functioning competitively at the competition site. The participant teams work not only to develop and build their houses but also to enhance the systems’ integration and generation of knowledge on sustainable construction. Solar Decathlon will offer students a unique opportunity for learning by bringing a project from concept to completion. The projects are to be developed by multidisciplinary teams, providing the opportunity to learn not only about technical issues but also about teamwork, communication skills, a sustainable lifestyle, and socio-economic issues in order to ensure the viability of their project.
Eric Holt teaches construction building systems and architectural design & planning at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. He is a 2011 Solar Decathlete—placing second for Purdue as a graduate student. Eric loves this competition because students get to design, build and manage the real world process from start to finish. Eric and his family love living in Denver and take advantage of the amazing weather, great people and fun things to do year round.
Jack Ross began his Master of Science in Real Estate in the Built Environment in 2016. A PGA Certified Golf Professional, Jack was always intrigued in the built environment which eventually led him back to school. Jack lives in Denver with his wife and dog.