For Immediate Release
October 19, 2007
Contacts: Neil Tickner, 301 405 4622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UM Students Capture Second Place in Intl. Solar House Competition
The University of Maryland Solar Decathlon Team capped its "silver" honors in the U.S. Department of Energy competition by winning the BP Solar People's Choice Award on Saturday. The Terps amassed the most votes as the favorite of visitors to the Decathlon site over nine days.
The Terps also captured the title of People's Choice two years ago in the previous Decathlon.
Visitors lined up Saturday -- the final day of the Decathlon -- to get a final look at the Maryland house and the other winners.
In other contests at the event, the UM team took first place in the National Association of Home Builders' Marketing Curb Appeal contest and also was recognized by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers for "Integration for Renewables for Sustainable Living."
At a separate event, the Potomac Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects gave the team its Advancement of the Art and Science of Architecture Award.
University of Maryland architecture and engineering students received high honors Friday on the National Mall, capturing second place in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon -- an international competition encouraging students to build and design innovative homes that fully utilize solar power.
The Terp Solar Decathlon Team -- representing Maryland and the D.C. region -- led all U.S. schools, coming in just behind Darmstadt, Germany. It was the best showing ever for a Terp team in the competition. Roughly 25 points separated the first and second place winners. Santa Clara, Penn State and Madrid rounded out the top five.
Click here to see what the judges had to say
"This has been a truly incredible experience," exclaimed Maryland architecture student Ali Oroski. "I'm so happy that this week has gone so well at the house. This has been an absolutely wonderful experience for me!"
The Maryland team's entry had been recognized from the start, scoring at or near the top in several contests, including architecture, market viability, lighting and communications.
"This team has tremendous depth and focus," says Julie Gabrielli, an architecture faculty and team member. "The attention to detail and tenacity has carried us through many challenges along the way. Now that the students have worked together on a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team, they understand the great value of including a wide diversity of viewpoints and approaches in solving problems."
The ten contests that decide the Solar Decathlon measure many aspects of a home's performance and appearance: Architecture, Engineering, Market Viability, Communications, Lighting, Comfort Zone, Appliances, Hot Water, Energy Balance and Getting Around. A perfect total score for all ten contests is 1,200 points.
"The ingenuity, commitment and capability of the LEAFHouse team were truly remarkable, and that was before the LEAFHouse took second place in the Solar Decathlon," said University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr. "By finishing second out of the twenty worldwide university participants who were invited, the LEAFHouse illuminated another great moment for the University of Maryland. A most hearty congratulations to the entire team and its sponsors."
The Maryland LEAFHouse has one of the few technical innovations in the competition -- a waterfall that incorporates design and function to reduce moisture and the energy needed for air conditioning.
"We are changing the rules by which buildings are designed and built, and showcasing the tools available to do so NOW," says Amy Gardner, architecture professor and lead faculty member on the team. "The Solar Decathlon is an unparalleled opportunity to educate future and current leaders in the process of integrated design; to inform the public about environmentally sound, sustainable construction; and to promote the role of efficiency and solar technologies in achieving energy independence."
The students call their solar home the LEAFhouse -- in part reflecting its green design and in honor of nature's most efficient solar panel. The team used the Chesapeake Bay watershed as an inspiration. "LEAF" stands for "leading everyone to an abundant future." Solar power is used to run everything in the house, with enough power left over to run an electric car.
"I am extremely proud of the University of Maryland's participation and performance in this exceptional contest," said Steny Hoyer, Maryland congressman and House majority leader. "At a time when Congress is developing new policies to take our nation in a more energy efficient direction, these students are showing incredible initiative in pushing the research and development of new energy efficient technologies." Hoyer and U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman toured the LEAFHouse earlier Friday.
Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett sent along his congratulations as well. He visited the house as it was constructed on the Mall.
This is the third Solar Decathlon competition. Previous events were held in 2002 and 2005. University of Maryland teams have competed in all three.
Information provided by the Office of University Communications
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