In the latest round of the Solar Decathlon -- a prestigious competition to design, build, and operate a fully functioning solar-powered home -- UNLV's students captured the highest scores in the design development phase.
The competition, sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the U.S. Department of Energy, includes teams from Stanford University, University of Southern California, and institutions in Canada, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
The UNLV team, called Team Las Vegas, draws students from across majors, including architecture, engineering, business, and communications. They spent the last year designing their home, which they named DesertSol because it was designed specifically for sustainable living in the challenging Mojave Desert environment.
UNLV was the only team that had no areas requiring significant improvement in the design phase. NREL evaluators noted that UNLV's design clearly met expectations in several areas, including completion of the three-dimensional model of the entire home. UNLV also met deadlines for completing:
- Drawings that are appropriately annotated and detailed.
- Construction documents, which dictate how all components of the building will be constructed.
- Project manual, including written specifications and structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and other engineering calculations.
- Preliminary health and safety plan, which ensures the safety of all participants involved in the building, transportation and installation of DesertSol.
In January, the team will begin construction of the home in Las Vegas. It will be moved to Orange County, Calif., next fall for the final competition in October 2013.
Follow Team Las Vegas' updates on the DesertSol website.
Read more about competition on the DOE Solar Decathlon website.