The United States Department of Energy has challenged the collegiate minds of tomorrow to present creative solutions at their Solar Decathlon Competition. FIU competed in the Solar Decathlon in 2005 with the “Engawa” house and won first place in the Energy Balance Competition. In 2011 FIU will again be competing with their PerFORM[D]ance House that generates its own electricity completely from the sun.
About Solar Decathlon
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. 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 purpose of the Solar Decathlon is to educate student participants and the public about the many cost-saving opportunities presented by clean-energy products. It also aims to demonstrate to the public the opportunities presented by cost-effective houses that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems available today. Finally, it hopes to provide participating students with unique training that will prepare them to enter our nation’s clean-energy workforce.
What is FIU Doing?
Team FIU is proud to be of the 20 teams going to Washington D.C. to compete in the Solar Decathlon.
In order to win, the house they create must:
- be powered exclusively by the sun
- be affordable, attractive and easy to live in
- maintain comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
- supply sufficient energy for cooking, cleaning and entertainment
- provide adequate hot water
- produce as much or more energy than it consumes
The PerFORM[D]ance House
The The PerFORM[D]ance House was built with the tropical South Florida climate in mind while creating innovative solutions that make the house sustainable, affordable and educational. Some of the features on the house include rooftop photovoltaic panels, a ductless heating and cooling system, solar thermal tubes, energy monitoring systems, and high efficiency lighting and appliances. These innovative strategies produce electricity, cool and heat interior spaces, and heat and store water in the most efficient way possible. Once it is built, the house will be transported 1,056 miles in the back of the trucks from Miami to the National Mall.
FIU is fully dedicated to future sustainability efforts and helping create innovative solutions to the environmental challenges we all face. To think that a university that has yet to reach its 50th birthday is one of 20 nationwide schools representing cutting-edge solar technology possibilities is something that all students and faculty should be proud of – and this is not the first time that FIU has competed! “To have FIU at the forefront of a national competition that showcases the talents of its students and the application of that talent towards productive and sustainable ends, is a real source of pride,” stated Carrie Kashar of FIU’s Office of University Sustainability.