The Fall semester of 2010 has begun at the University of Hawai‘i but that’s not the only thing in full swing.<br/><br/>Back in April of 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy has announced that teamhawai‘i, made up of representatives from UH Mānoa and Honolulu Community College, was one of 20 teams selected to compete in the 2011 Solar Decathlon. <br/><br/>Now you might be thinking what the heck is a solar decathlon?<br/><br/>Like the Olympic decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests. These contests are designed to gauge how well the houses perform and how livable and affordable they are. Each contest is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a competition total of 1,000 points.<br/><br/>Teams can earn points three ways:<br/>
- Task completion
- Teams complete household tasks such as cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry.
- Monitored performance
- Team houses perform to specified criteria, such as maintaining a comfortable (71°–76°F) indoor temperature range.
- Jury evaluation
- Jurors who are experts in their field (such as architecture, engineering, and communications) award points for features that cannot be measured (such as aesthetics and design inspiration).
To find out more information on the ten solar decathlon contest please click here.<br/><br/>The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.<br/><br/> The Solar Decathlon:<br/>
- Educates student participants and the public about the many cost-saving opportunities presented by clean-energy products
- Demonstrates to the public the opportunities presented by cost-effective houses that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems that are available today
- Provides participating students with unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean-energy workforce
The winning team produces a house that:<br/>
- Is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in
- Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
- Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment
- Provides adequate hot water
- Produces as much or more energy than it consumes
According to teamhawai‘i’s website, the “project includes advancements in composite and renewable materials, photovoltaics, building-integrated heating and cooling systems, and house design tailored to tropical climates. The design incorporates innovative uses of material, energy, and systems, and promotes appropriate ways of living for a more sustainable future. The team now has until next summer to recruit the best and brightest students, organize and distribute the work, perform cutting-edge research and design, and construct the house.”<br/><br/>For more information on teamhawai‘i and the Solar Decathlon please visit their website:<br/>http://www.solar.hawaii.edu/