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ODU/HU Solar Decathlon Team Will Travel to California for 2013 Competition

The dates have been set for the 2013 Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon, for which Old Dominion University and Hampton University make up one of 20 finalist teams.

The event will take place Oct. 3-13, 2013, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. The competition houses will be open to visitors on eight days over two weekends, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Solar Decathlon will showcase 20 highly efficient, solar-powered houses in a specially constructed solar village at the park.

"We look forward to the arrival of the Energy Department's Solar Decathlon to the Great Park in October 2013," said Mike Ellzey, chief executive officer with the Orange County Great Park Board Corp. "This event will showcase the park's commitment to sustainability, education and public engagement and will bring economic benefits to the Southern California region."

Held in alternating years in Europe and the United States, the Solar Decathlon is a competition where net-zero energy homes, built and constructed by university teams from around the world, are judged in 10 different categories (hence the name "decathlon"). The first DOE Solar Decathlon was held in 2002 in Washington, D.C. The 2013 event will mark the first time the U.S. has hosted the competition outside the nation's capital.

The ODU/HU team, known as Team Tidewater, participated in the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, placing 14th out of 20 schools. The home constructed by Team Tidewater, known as Unit 6 Unplugged, will be permanently sited on the ODU campus. It will house ODU's Sustainable Development Institute, part of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, and serve as a testing lab and showroom for alternative energy technologies.

The 2013 Team Tidewater entry, known as Canopy House, will be designed as an energy-efficient home that is simple to control, allowing it to be tailored to the needs of the disabled. Among its innovations will be the use of face recognition technology, from ODU's Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory, so those living in the home can lock and unlock doors without the use of their limbs.

The home is called Canopy House because it takes its design from a canopy of trees, giving it classic curb appeal, something not common for residential solar technology. Architecture students from Hampton University are working together with engineering students from Old Dominion on Team Tidewater.

This article was posted on: March 30, 2012

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