Texas A&M Launches Solar Decathlon Project

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Construction on Texas A&M University's entry in the Solar Decathlon will begin at 4 p.m. Friday at the College of Architecture's facility at the Riverside Campus off Highway 47.

The decathlon is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy every two years and it features competition by universities to build the most energy-efficient house.

Texas A&M won the right to compete, along with 20 other universities, and design work has been completed for the Aggie entry.

Now construction will begin on a prototype house, built by architecture, construction science, landscape architecture, and engineering student volunteers.

In fall 2007, the teams transport their solar houses to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where they form a solar village. The teams compete in 10 contests to determine an overall winner. Using only energy from the sun, the teams generate enough electricity to run a modern household. With an eye on energy efficiency, the students carefully choose the systems, products, and appliances used in their houses.

The Aggie design uses the GroHome concept developed by Pliny Fisk, an architecture professor.

GroHome features construction of an initial 800-square-foot module from prefabricated materials, then additions to the energy efficient design made from native materials in the area where it is constructed.