Written By: David Bakhshaee
The 2011 Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, ended this past week with Team Tidewater placing 14th overall out of 19 teams. Team Tidewater, comprising of students from Old Dominion University and Hampton University, put up a noble fight in the global competition, beating out teams from China, Belgium, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
The University of Maryland won the competition, structuring their environmentally friendly house after the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Purdue University finished second, while New Zealand placed third.
Although ODU and Hampton didn’t bring home the top prize, team members’ spirits were still high. “We’re not in low spirits by any means,” said Noel Harrison, a Hampton architecture student, by phone Saturday afternoon. “We really took to heart all the people who walked through our house and said they loved it and wanted to move in.”
Team Tidewater’s house, nicknamed Unit 6 unplugged, designed and innovated to reflect the need for more efficient inner-city living, placed 15 in regards to Architecture, and 19th in engineering.
Early on in the competition, Team Tidewater was proving that they were a force to reckon with. In the early days of the competition, Team Tidewater was tied for sixth place, however when judges assessed architecture, communications, and engineering, dreams of first place seemed to slip away.
“Our students started with a very strong proposition of bringing sustainable design to the inner city, and they carried it out with flash,” said Mason Andrews, a Hampton University professor. “But I guess we failed to flash enough to impress the judges. So yes, there’s some disappointment.”
“These talented students are demonstrating to consumers the wide range of energy-saving solutions that are available today to save them money on their energy bills,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
After the competition ended, the 19 “green” homes were left up for display for an additional day for sightseers and tourists to gawk at. After the additional display time ended, the houses were broken down and transported back to their perspective campus.
Once Unit 6 makes it back to Monarch nation, it is planned to become a design studio for future ODU and Hampton University collaborations.
Photo Courtsey of David Bakhshaee