UT Austin Students to Compete in 2015 Solar Decathlon, Build Solar House

The School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with Technische Universität München (TUM), has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 20 collegiate teams to compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon.

The Solar Decathlon challenges college students to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. They are expected to blend affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

During the next two years, the 20 Solar Decathlon teams will design, construct and test their houses before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2015 competition site in Irvine, Calif.

As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in 10 different contests ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance while gaining valuable hands-on experience. In fall 2015, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses at the competition site, providing free public tours of renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products and appliances that today are helping homeowners nationwide save money by saving energy.

The UT Austin team will be led by Professor Michael Garrison, Assistant Professor Petra Liedl and lecturer Adam Pyrek, all in the School of Architecture. Faculty members from the School of Architecture will serve as project coordinators and provide leadership in design, energy, water and lighting coordination. Faculty members from the Cockrell School of Engineering's Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering will provide leadership in engineering systems analysis and integration. Michael Gatto, director of the Austin Community Design and Development Center (ACDDC), will serve as a consultant.

The TUM team will be led by Professor Werner Lang, chair of the Institute of Energy Efficient and Sustainable Design and Building and director of the Center for Sustainable Building. The Institute of Energy Efficient and Sustainable Design and Building is a joint initiative of the TUM Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering. It aims to promote interdisciplinary research among both faculties and other engineering faculties, and to integrate energy efficient design and building as mandatory and elementary module of studies .

In 2013, UT Austin's School of Architecture developed a working research partnership with TUM through the EnergyXChange Conference. As an outgrowth of the conference, the two universities began working together to develop a joint entry for the 2015 Solar Decathlon competition.