Hundreds of students and staff gathered Saturday to give a “solar send-off” to Ohio State’s first solar decathlon team as they departed to compete in a national competition in Washington, D.C.
Crowds gathered at the construction site of “Solar House 1” across from the south end of the stadium to honor the 60 students who designed, constructed and promoted the solar-powered house.
“It’s a testament of what Ohio State Buckeyes can do when they come together,” said Greg Washington, interim dean of the College of Engineering.
The “Solar House 1” house will be transported to Washington, D.C., this weekend for the National Solar Decathlon taking place at the National Mall Oct. 9 to 18.
The solar decathlon team was formed spring 2007 and was formally accepted as one of 20 universities from around the world to compete in the National Solar Decathlon Competition. The competition challenges the participating universities to build the best solar-powered house. Teams will be judged in 10 areas, and the winning team will win $10,000 and an invitation to the European Solar Decathlon.
OSU’s house is a 764-square-foot home designed as one large room that serves a variety of functions, said James DeFrance, a third-year geography major and an outreach team member.
“We’ve made a house that is exactly what you could move into and live in,” he said.
The solar decathlon team is made up of three divisions: the design team, comprised of students from the Knowlton School of Architecture; the engineering team, made up of students from the College of Engineering; and the sponsorship and outreach team, comprised of students from various colleges and schools.
Accompanied at the send-off by the director of the Knowlton School of Architecture, Washington described the project as the first major collaboration between the College of Engineering and the School of Architecture.
“People talk about environmentalism, but for me it represents an entire ecosystem of effects, behaviors and practices,” said Ann Pendleton-Jullian, director of the Knowlton School of Architecture. “This house represents all of those.”
The team also made an effort to use local products in the construction of the house, building the exterior of the house with siding from a barn in rural Ohio.
“We’re going to take a little piece of Ohio with us when we go to D.C.,” Washington said.
Team members also said many central Ohio businesses offered support and parts throughout the construction of the house.
OSU President E. Gordon Gee also spoke at the send-off, saying that the project aligns with the university’s policy toward sustainability.
“This is a small picture of our dedication to sustainability,” he said.
Standing near the house, which sits in the shadow of the Ohio Stadium, Washington compared the decathlon team to the 2002 OSU football team that was labeled an underdog in its national championship victory.
Team Germany, the competition’s reigning champion, is favored to win, said team member Erin Reilly-Sanders, a graduate student in architecture and fabrications manager on the architecture team.