Posted on Friday, October 16, 2009 by Brenda Tucker
California College of the Arts (CCA) and Santa Clara University (SCU), competing as Team California, were ecstatic this morning to win third place overall in the U.S. Department of Energy's 2009 Solar Decathlon. Team California beat out top universities such as Tufts University, Rice University, and Cornell University with its energy-efficient, beautiful, and comfortable solar-powered home, titled Refract House.
Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy, announced the winners. Team California, he said, "excelled in some of the most prestigious subjective contests. They broke out of the box and masterfully executed a melding of interior and exterior spaces while offering a consistently high-quality learning experience to visitors. This team really embodied what this competition is all about."
Team California was also extremely excited to win second place in the Engineering contest. The judges humorously observed that "A close and effective collaboration of engineers and architects is not always easy," but that Refract House's engineering systems are very well integrated into the architecture. They specifically called out "the exterior operable shading devices that control heat gain. We also felt that this team's house made a very respectable step toward creating the automated home. We admire the efficient water-heating system powered by the home's photovoltaic system. We appreciated the well-designed heating and cooling system that keeps occupants comfortable year-round."
Student Kyle Belcher, one of CCA's five project managers, said, "The last two years have been a remarkable journey for the 200 students who joined together to build a solar-powered house. We're very proud of our home, our team, and the success we had in this competition."
Student Allison Kopf, SCU project manager, remarked: "We proved to the world today that you don't have to compromise comfort, style, and convenience to live in a green home. Our home is attractive, functional, and livable, and thousands of people who visited also agreed."
Team California scored a total of 863 points (the overall winner, Team Germany, scored 908). Team California's standings in the individual contests:
Architecture – 1st place
Communications – 1st place
Engineering – 2nd place
Appliances – 2nd place
Home Entertainment – 2nd place
Hot Water – 3rd place
Market Viability – 3rd place
Lighting Design – 6th place
Net Metering – 12th place
Comfort Zone – 14th place
Students from many different disciplines—including architecture, ceramics, engineering, fashion design, fine arts, furniture, glass, graphic design, illustration, media arts, interior design, and textiles—contributed to Refract House. From the California clay plateware to the fine art on the walls, the furniture, and the clothing in the closet, all of the elements of Refract House were created or designed by students.
The students spent two years designing, engineering, and building the house. They then disassembled it, trucked it to Washington DC, and reassembled it on the National Mall. For the past eight days they have been showing the judges and the public their sleek home that blends aesthetics with performance. They used materials and products from companies and individuals focused on sustainability. One of Refract House's many innovative features is the ability of homeowners to easily monitor their energy and water consumption in real time, and even control the home from anywhere in the world, via their iPhone.
Watch Team California's reaction to their first-place win in Communications
Watch Team California's reaction to their first-place win in Architecture
Watch Team California's reaction to their third-place win in Market Viability
Watch Team California arriving in Washington DC and reassembling Refract House
Watch time-lapse video of Team California building their solar house at Santa Clara University
About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is noted for the interdisciplinarity and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in 20 undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, CCA currently enrolls 1,800 full-time students.
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees and engineering PhDs. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice.
Images available upon request. Students are available for interviews. Contact Brenda Tucker of CCA (415.336.7528, ) or Connie Coutain of SCU (408.829.4836, ).