University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 29, 2011 10:16 ET

University of Calgary: Canada's solar home truly a collaborative effort

University of Calgary Solar Decathlon entry sits in Top 10 mid-competition

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 29, 2011) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo associated with this release.

When the University of Calgary team first proposed their home for the 2011 Solar Decathlon two years ago, their goal was not only to design an energy-efficient, net-zero home, but also to form an inclusive, high-functioning team. Today, with the home currently placed among the top 10 entries, team members feel satisfied that they have achieved that goal.

"Architects often design a structure independently and then hand it off to engineers to build," said Shalisha Senkow, a Master of Architecture candidate on the Canadian team since day one. "When we started this project, we decided that there would be an architect and an engineer at the table at all times."

In fact, the team brought together students from the faculties of engineering, environmental design, business, and a special cross-disciplinary Master of Science program in sustainable energy development. The result is a cohesive project that meshes the practical, mechanical aspects of the solar house with an innovative design.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Solar Decathlon architecture competition results were announced and, while the University of Calgary team didn't as well as they hoped, they still sit in the top 10 as the competition heads into its final days. Overall results will be announced this Saturday.

University of Calgary students Sarah Bramley and Carolyn Parker hosted the team's second dinner party inside the home Wednesday night – the last peer-juried evaluation in the competition. Students from China, Belgium, and the University of Maryland, as well as two VIP guests – Lukas Gudinskas from the Embassy of Canada and Jim Campbell, VP of Government Relations for Cenovus Energy– enjoyed a feast of maple-glazed ribs, wild rice, vegetables, and a classic Canadian dessert: Nanaimo bars.

Minister Kevin O'Shea from the Canadian Embassy in Washington also visited the home on Wednesday to greet the team in advance of a special reception at the Embassy tonight. In addition to showing interest in the home's cultural and technical features, he kindly volunteered a colleague to help the team tear down the house next week.

Looking ahead

Guests from Cenovus Energy – the team's title sponsor – will visit the home this morning followed by more public tours from 10 am to 2 pm. Results from the engineering jury will be announced at 2:30 pm and this evening, the team will attend a reception hosted by Minister Kevin O'Shea at the Embassy of Canada.

Results announcements continue this week: communications on Friday afternoon and market appeal on Saturday as part of the overall competition awards ceremony at 2:30 pm ET. The house will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Starting Sunday night, the team will have four days to disassemble the home, which took a week to build.

About the Solar Decathlon

The 2011 Solar Decathlon, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, challenges student teams from around the world to design, construct and operate energy-efficient solar-powered homes. The University of Calgary student-led Cenovus TRTL (pronounced 'turtle') is Canada's only entry into this year's competition. TRTL, which stands for "Technological Residence, Traditional Living", addresses critical issues in Aboriginal housing in Canada and was designed in collaboration with the Treaty 7 First Nations of Southern Alberta. On June 21, 2011 (National Aboriginal Day in Canada), Cenovus Energy joined as title sponsor, announcing their donation of $600,000 to Canada's team.

The University of Calgary is a comprehensive research university, ranked one of Canada's top eight research universities and a member of the 15 most research intensive universities in Canada (the U15), combining the best of long-established university traditions with the city of Calgary's vibrant energy and diversity. This is the University of Calgary's second entry into the Solar Decathlon. In 2009, Team Alberta's SolAbode – a combined effort between ACAD, SAIT Mount Royal University, and the University of Calgary – placed 6th overall out of 20 teams.

To see a photo of Minister O'Shea with the University of Calgary team, click the following link:

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Contact Information

  • University of Calgary - Washington, DC
    Julie Phillips
    Communications Coordinator
    Cell: 403.680.1054

    University of Calgary - Calgary
    Grady Semmens
    University Relations
    403.220.7722 or Cell: 403.651.2515