Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- August 31, 2005
Cal Poly Solar Decathlon House Powered by Industry Donations
Cal Poly's entry in the international 2005 Solar Decathlon competition, the
only entry from California, is getting a major boost from industry partners who
are donating money, energy-efficient materials and solar-friendly systems.
Now taking shape on a campus softball practice field, the all-solar house sits on
a steel chassis donated by Zieman Manufacturing. Upon this foundation, the Cal
Poly student crew laid down floor insulation from CPI: Construction Polymers
International, added structural insulated panels from AFP R-Control, and installed
exterior and interior cladding panels by Trespa of North America.
When the house is finished, Cal Poly's interdisciplinary student team will transport
it to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to compete with 17 other universities
Oct. 7-16. The energy-efficiency competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department
of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The Cal Poly students have raised more than $300,000 of the $500,000 fund-raising
goal. To help the team raise the rest, contact architecture Professor Rob Peņa,
Cal Poly College of Architecture and Environmental Design, at (805) 756-5207 or
Along with gifts from parents, friends and other supporters, two major cash donations
have greatly helped to tie together the many in-kind donations. Alumnus C. Nicholas
Watry, a licensed architect and structural engineer, donated funding. A long-time
supporter of student projects, Watry is the George Hasslein Endowed Chair for
Interdisciplinary Studies in Environmental Design.
The Lewis Foundation, established by philanthropist Adam J. Lewis, has also
contributed funds to the project. The foundation awards grants to nonprofit
organizations and individuals involved in environmental responsibility, green
space issues and research.
According to Peņa, the team's faculty advisor, many of the materials and finished
surfaces in the Cal Poly entry were selected by the students to provide energy
conservation benefits and to serve as examples of sustainable uses of natural
resources. "As tomorrow's building industry professionals, the students are
learning first hand how to design innovative systems that synergize the power
of the sun," he said.
Solar energy will power the major appliances, lighting and hot-water system in
the 650-square-foot Cal Poly house, as well as an electric vehicle. To avoid a
reliance on hardwood forest products, the team chose bamboo flooring from Smith
and Fong, along with solid-surface countertops by Richlite.
The home will have architectural hardware and doors by Häfele America, plumbing
supplies by Ferguson Enterprises, and a wide range of products from Home Depot.
Highly efficient fixtures are being provided by several cutting-edge lighting
firms including, Alkco, Bruck, io, Lithonia, Peerless, and Shaper.
Visitors to the house will see state-of-the-art major appliances designed to
conserve energy including, a combination ASKO washer/dryer from Water, Inc., and
KitchenAid appliances soon to be released to consumers by Whirlpool.
Throughout the development of this project students have been working on the
installation of the dwelling's power generating systems. The house is powered
by BP Solar photovoltaic panels that will be attached to a roof-rack mounting
system by Pro Solar. The sun's energy will pass from the panels to storage in
the Trojan batteries then on to the Xantrex inverters before powering the house.
Also added are solar-thermal roof panels donated by Heliodyne. Crucial to this
process were donations of a heat pump, air-handling unit and energy-recovery
ventilator by US Air Conditioning Distributors Corp. and Grundfos water pumps. A
GEM electric vehicle, donated by the U.S. Department of Energy, will transport
the students around the nation's capital as part of the required contest activities.
Local technical and consultative assistance has come from San Luis Mechanical,
REC Solar, Thoma Electric, and IBEW Local Electrician's Union No. 639, among others.
For more information about the 2005 Solar Decathlon, see
Sandra Stannard, (805) 756-2076
Robert Peņa, (805) 756-5207