University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 27, 2011 09:57 ET

University of Calgary: Traditional living in Canada's solar home

Bannock, bison, and berries highlight Canada's solar house menu

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2011) - Nothing showcases a home's usability and comfort quite like preparing and hosting a meal for ten. Canada's team got a chance to utilize their energy-efficient cooking appliances and entertain for the first time Monday night as they hosted one of the required dinner parties as part of the Solar Decathlon.

As part of the peer-evaluation portion of the competition, two members of each team are required to prepare and serve dinner to two decathletes from each of three neighbouring homes as well as two VIP guests. Visitors from the other teams then assign points based on the quality of the meal and the experience.

After sourcing all of the required ingredients for their feast, Canada's Christopher Fry and Johann Kyser began preparing their meal at 2:30 pm. Guests from Belgium's Ghent University, China's Tongji University, and the University of Maryland came calling at 8:30 pm to enjoy a traditional Aboriginal menu consisting of slow-roasted bison, three sisters or 'celebration' rice, berries, and mint tea.

"I think they really enjoyed it," said Kyser, aboriginal relations manager for the team, but added that the evening was really about gathering and sharing stories. The team's cultural-spiritual advisor Dr. Reg Crowshoe and his wife Rose were both in attendance as VIP guests. "Having Dr. Crowshoe there sharing stories and connecting the TRTL home to the traditional teepee was memorable," said Kyser. "We could have listened to him talk for hours."

The team opted to host one of their dinner parties in an Aboriginal theme as a chance to showcase the cultural elements of the home and traditional Canadian culture. For the second dinner party on Wednesday, the team will prepare contemporary Canadian cuisine complete with fiddle music performed live by Haskayne School of Business student and team sponsorship lead Carolyn Parker.

While Fry and Kyser hosted dinner the Cenovus TRTL home, their teammates visited neighbouring teams' homes: Belgium's E-cube home, China's Y Container, and the University of Maryland's WaterShed.

The winner of the affordability contest will be announced at 2:30 pm Tuesday in the main tent on Solar Decathlon site at West Potomac Park in Washington, DC. The team received a bit of feedback from former Canadian team engineering lead Mike Gestwick, who was shadowing the jury when they toured the home last Thursday. "He said they did really well," said Kyser of Kim Gould and Adam Cripps, who presented to the jury. One of the jurors even remarked, "Every team should have a Kim Gould."

Looking ahead

Results announcements continue through the week with the architecture award announced Wednesday afternoon, the engineering award on Thursday, and the communications award on Friday. On Saturday, the overall competition results will be announced at 2:30 pm ET.

In addition to hosting a second dinner party this Wednesday evening, the team will also host a movie night in the home Tuesday evening and attend a special reception at the Canadian Embassy on Thursday night.

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 out of 20 teams.

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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