U team's solar-powered house is headed to national contest

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2009 - 11:26 PM

A team from the University of Minnesota that has built a house powered solely by the sun will face off against counterparts from 19 other universities in a contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

ON THE NATIONAL MALL: Twenty of the solar houses will be erected on the National Mall next month for the Solar Decathlon competition, designed to promote energy efficiency and practicality of solar home construction.

U PREVIEW: The university's house will be unveiled in a preview this week at the St. Paul campus. The house will be open for tours today, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The competition consists of 10 individual contests that evaluate the teams' skills in architecture, house design and communications. The homes must produce enough electricity and hot water from solar panels to perform all the normal functions of a house -- including lighting, cooking, washing and powering home electronics.

The fully functional 800-square-foot house has been built to be broken down into several pieces.

After this week's preview, the university's team will disassemble it and ship it to Washington, D.C., where it will be rebuilt for the contest, which will be held Oct. 9-18.

BOB VON STERNBERG

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