New Jersey tech institute wins U.S. solar home design competition

by Reuters
Sunday, 18 October 2015 03:22 GMT

LOS ANGELES, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Students from New Jersey-based Stevens Institute of Technology won the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, taking the top trophy at the event in California by building a flood-resistant house that is also energy efficient, officials said on Saturday.

The students were inspired by the ravages of Superstorm Sandy, which ripped through the East Coast in 2012, to build a house that was resilient enough to withstand hurricane-force winds, the institute said in a statement.

The so-called Sure House the students constructed at the Department of Energy's competition in Irvine, south of Los Angeles, was built with repurposed materials from the boat- building industry and was designed to be placed on the coastline, making use of natural light.

It has a large shuttered patio to double the home's usable space in summer, and relies on solar energy for power.

"This project was about creating a real, livable residence for families in coastal communities who will be hardest hit by the effects of climate change," graduate student A.J. Elliott, a member of the Stevens team, said in a statement.

Fourteen student teams, which included squads from schools in Germany, Honduras and Italy, competed this year in the Solar Decathlon over a nine-day stretch. Projects were judged on energy efficiency, affordability and comfort.

Second place in the event designed to encourage energy-efficient home building and which is held every two years went to the University at Buffalo, according to a statement from the Department of Energy that listed the top finalists. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis, Editing by Chris Michaud)

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