Solar Homestead featured on ‘Appalachian Perspective’
On the latest episode of “Appalachian Perspective,” Dave Lee and Jamie Russell discuss the success and benefits of Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011.
The Solar Homestead received third place in architecture, third place in entertainment, second place in communications and the coveted People’s Choice Award.
“All the points in the decathlon revolved around the 10 different contests, but we saw the People’s Choice Award as really a top prize to achieve,” said Lee, Solar Homestead communication manager.
“If you win the People’s Choice, it means you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. And what we set out to do was build a home that didn’t require a sacrifice, that the public could walk through and say, ‘I can live here, this is comfortable, I can be energy efficient, I can use renewable energy.’ The People’s Choice Award is an affirmation that we ran a great campaign, partnered with the state and the university to get the word out there about how important this was.”
For nearly two weeks in September, the team of Appalachian students and faculty competed against 18 other teams from around the world in the Solar Decathlon, showing off and testing their net-zero energy, solar-powered home. The home was designed and built during a two-year period in Boone, then transported to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the competition.
The team’s success wouldn’t have been possible without all the support, especially from local people and businesses, said Russell, assistant professor in the ASU Department of Technology and Environmental Design. “It was such a broad base, everyone from companies as large as 3M, as far spread as Minnesota, down to our local Mountain Lumber folks, of people that really stepped up and helped us out. It was really fantastic and we couldn’t have done it without our sponsors.”
The Solar Homestead house is currently located at the Appalachian Solar Decathlon Headquarters on East King Street, but the team is planning to send it to Raleigh in the spring, where it will be used as an educational site to teach the public about renewable energy and how renewable energy technologies can be installed in existing as well as new construction homes.
Lee and Russell also spoke of the benefits the competition will have for Appalachian students and for the university as a whole.
“I think a benefit that students will have now and in the future is really developing these relationships that we’ve created with our sponsors and with a bunch of different companies that have been interested in the project. We’ll be testing new materials and new products for them, and students will have internships there,” Lee said.
“Competing head-to-head with universities such as the University of Florida and the University of Maryland is going to have a huge impact on the name, the cache of Appalachian State University,” Russell said. “It’s going to give a huge amount of name recognition for the university.”
In the future, the team hopes to compete in Solar Decathlon Europe in 2014, which will be held in Spain.
“Appalachian Perspective,” recorded and produced on the Appalachian campus in Boone, airs in Watauga County at the following times: on Charter Communications Channel 21 weekdays at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; on Charter Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and on MTN’s Channel 18 Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Fridays at 12:30 p.m.