PULLMAN, Wash. — A group of students from Washington State University’s School of Architecture and Construction Management will travel to Washington, D.C., Sept. 19-21 to learn more about the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.  

Sponsored by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab, the competition gives students two years to plan and build a 500-800 square foot house that receives all of its energy needs from the sun. The competition aims to increase public awareness of solar energy and inspire innovative solutions in ecological design. Of the 20 teams from throughout the world participating in the competition, WSU is the only competitor from the Northwest.

As part of the competition, students have to provide a home with all the modern conveniences, including heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, hot water, lighting, appliances and communications. The homes are judged on their energy production, efficiency, and design. The event is called a decathlon because the homes are judged in 10 separate areas. The homes will be transported to Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2005 for display and judging on the Washington Mall. Last year’s display drew an average of 25,000 visitors per day. 

The students will lead a multidisciplinary team, including students from construction management, engineering and architecture. 

Architecture Professor Matthew Taylor, who is advising the students on the project, is teaching a course on ecological design this fall that will incorporate discussion of solar home design and the decathlon project. 

WSU students traveling to Washington, D.C., include Brad Frey and Marci Hansen, fourth year architecture students, and Josh Johnson, a fourth year construction management student. Construction management student Bradford Kilcup will lead the student project although he will not travel to Washington, D.C.