solar decathlon review
STEFANO PALTERA/U. S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGy SOLAR DECATh LON
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, left, speaks with
members of the SCI-Arc/Caltech team, Andrew
Gong, second from left, and Elisabeth Neigert,
right, as he tours their entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.
Calling All Solar Decathletes Alumni association seeks
to advance the Decathlon and industry.
By David G. Schieren
The Solar Decathlon Alumni Associa- tion (SDAA) congratulates all 2011 Solar Decathlon competitors for
an impressive performance, upholding
the competition’s high standard of
Established in 2007, the SDAA recently
launched a new website with funding from
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). We
invite all students and faculty from past
competitions to sign up. Industry partners
and sponsors are welcome to join under
a special membership class. Soon we will
reach out to Solar Decathlon Europe and
Solar Decathlon China as well.
The mission of the SDAA is to provide
a forum for Decathlon alumni to build
relationships, expand our knowledge
base, support the Solar Decathlon and
advocate for renewable energy.
Emile Chin-Dickey (Cornell−2005),
Cristina Zancani-Schieren (Rhode Island
School of Design−2005), James Bickford
(Santa Clara−2007), Matt Beck (Team
Alberta−2009) and I, with others, have
been working to build the association
since the 2007 competition. American
Solar Energy Society board member Jeff
Lyng (University of Colorado−2005) and
others from ASES have also been vital
to our growth, amongst other things
hosting meetings at the ASES National
Solar Conference. In addition to becom-
ing friends (and, yes, Cristina is my wife),
we’ve benefited professionally from
working together. We have already had
an impact on the competition, as well.
For example, Cristina helped influence
her architecture firm, Perkins + Will, to
sponsor the past two competitions.
The list goes on. The New York City-area team
from Parsons The New School for Design and
Stevens Institute of Technology designed a house
for a low-income family in Washington, D.C., in
conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign designed
a disaster-relief home. The Belgians from Ghent
University designed a do-it-yourself house that
can be built by seven people with no machines.
The Appalachian State University team designed
a beautiful homestead to respectfully honor their
North Carolina heritage. New Zealand (Victoria
University of Wellington) designed a delightful
vacation home. Florida International University
designed a hurricane-resistant house. Each team
had a different story to tell.
Most excitingly, every story had a similar
message — that energy-efficient solar living is
an affordable fit for all.
DavidG.Sc hieren (dschieren@empowerces.
com) is chief executive officer at EmPower Solar
and an alumnus of the 2005 New York Institute of
Technology/U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Solar
28 January/February 2012 SOLAR TODA Y solartoday.org
Copyright © 2012 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.