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WPI Team Finishes Strongly at Solar Decathlon in China

Friday, August 16, 2013

 

WPI's highly-praised Solatrium

An international, multi-university team led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) took a respectful 8th place overall while finishing first and fourth in two juried categories in the prestigious Solar Decathlon China 2013 competition, held in Datong, China. This is the first time WPI has participated in Solar Decathlon competition. The results were announced after officials tabulated scores in the 10 criteria the solar homes were judged on.

The team's solar home, branded the Solatrium, was designed over the last year and built near the WPI campus early this year, then disassembled and shipped to China for the event, which began on August 2 and ended August 13. It will be taken apart and shipped back to the U.S., then reassembled at Institute Park, adjacent to the WPI campus, later in the fall.

A Proud University

WPI is the lead university in Team BEMANY, with members from Ghent University in Belgium and New York University Polytechnic Institute, one of 19 teams to participate in the Solar Decathlon competition in China

"We feel proud of our team and what we have been able to accomplish in this two-year endeavor," said team co-leader Tahar El-Korchi, professor and head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at WPI. "We feel privileged to have been part of this incredible SD China experience. We truly felt like Olympians and Decathletes."

"We have learned so much from our peers, SD China hosts and Datong City hosts. We will cherish this experience for the rest of our lives and have developed long lasting personal bonds on so many levels."
This highly competitive program, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy and the China National Energy Administration, challenges university teams to design, build and operate attractive and affordable net-zero-energy houses powered by the sun. The team branded the solar house the Solatrium, for its power source and main architectural feature, an atrium.

The Competition

The teams were judged on 10 criteria: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and energy balance.

Team BEMANY placed first in the hot water and energy balance contests, and placed fourth in the communications criteria.

The Solatrium had close to 3,000 visitors each day that it was open to the public. Some visitors waited in line for hours to view the house and enjoy its unique architecture and open living space.

Features of the Solatrium include glass windows coated with a glaze that moderates light and radiation levels, an airy, sun-filled atrium to provide passive lighting and ventilation, and lightweight, composite wall panels with an insulation core, providing both structural integrity and a thermal barrier.

Since the launch of the Solar Decathlon in 2002, five competitions have been hosted in the U.S. and Europe. In 2013 the competition is being held in China for the first time, as part of the Sino-U.S. energy collaborative programs. The competition is organized in part by Peking University, but is being held in Datong.

For more information please visit http://www.wpi.edu.
 

 

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