UNLV's award-winning entry in the 2013 U.S. Department of Education Solar Decathlon will open its doors to visitors at the Springs Preserve starting Feb. 15. The DesertSol exhibit will be a permanent addition to Springs Preserve Botanical Gardens and offers an up-close look at the solar home's energy efficient residential design.
The exhibit is free for Springs Preserve members and included with general admission.
"We designed DesertSol to show Las Vegas residents that the time is now to build and live in an ultra-efficient solar home with style, and conserve water at the same time," said Alexia Chen, project manager of Team Las Vegas. "Our design aptly aligns with the mission of the Springs Preserve and the lush gardens provide the perfect backdrop. We are very excited that the public can soon visit the house we worked so hard to build."
Built by Team Las Vegas, an interdisciplinary collaboration of students and faculty at UNLV, DesertSol was honored in eight categories during the Solar Decathlon, including first place nationally and second internationally.
The design of the 754-square foot solar home is responsive to the climate of the Mojave Desert, focused on creating indoor-outdoor connections that allow residents to enjoy the beauty of our unique environment. Materials used in construction are pre-weathered to endure the desert sun and wind. The house uses "smart" technologies for environmental controls. Water is collected and reused for evaporative cooling.
In November 2013, Pardee Homes and Slater Hanifan Group helped expedite the DesertSol exhibit's move to the Springs Preserve by organizing a group of subcontractors to donate their time and services to prepare the site and facilitate the placement and installation of the home. Dozens of local companies have donated their services to the installation process, including Dielco Crane Service, whose 350-ton crane, one of the largest in Las Vegas, lifted DesertSol onto its new foundation in the Preserve Gardens last month.
In addition to Pardee Homes and Slater Hanifan Group, project contributors for the permanent site location include Inspirada Builders LLC (KB Home, Toll Brothers, Beazer Homes and Pardee), NV Energy Foundation, the City of Las Vegas, Consumer Electronics Association and nearly 40 others.
The international competition was held in October 2013 at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. and educates the public about energy-saving residential designs. It requires collegiate teams to design, build, and maintain a sustainable solar-powered home. Team Las Vegas finished second overall in the competition's closest-ever race - less than five points out of a possible 1,000 separated the top two teams. The UNLV team took top honors in market appeal, second in communications, and third in engineering.