who are we
The West Virginia University and University of Rome Tor Vergata Solar Decathlon team is merging Italian and Appalachian design concepts to build a solar powered home for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 Competition.
Among the multitude of student projects at both universities, a new tradition has
been started. Having competed for the first time in the US DOE Solar Decathlon 2013 competition, the universities’ students are preparing to compete again in the 2015 competition. The Solar Decathlon team is comprised of members from a broad range of academic programs. While primarily drawing from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the team also has WVU members representing the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design, the College of Business and Economics, along with UTV members from the Architectural Engineering and Energy Engineering programs.
In the DOE Solar Decathlon 2013 competition, WVU and UTV entered the competition with the PEAK (Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge) house for the first time. This rookie status was no deterrent to the team and despite a long road with some hard lessons, team PEAK stood tall with the other eighteen competing houses in Irvine, California. Not only has the PEAK team been able to pass along a valuable lesson from every challenge they faced, but the core student leadership for the 2015 competition were all participants with the PEAK house.
In true Mountaineer spirit, the students of the Solar Decathlon pride themselves in taking on very challenging tasks. With only one graduate student on the roster, all the work for this prestigious project is to be done by undergraduate students. This includes, planning, design, marketing and promotion, as well as construction, testing, and presentation.
Regardless of the team’s dedication and tenacity, this project cannot be completed
without external support. This support comes from not only the university itself, but the
community, sponsors, and most importantly, the United States Department of Energy. In addition to hosting and coordinating the competition, the funds from the Department of Energy will go a long way to help ease the financial burdens of design, construction, and transportation.
West Virginia University also serves as the forefront of technology and innovation for
the state of West Virginia itself, and the University of Rome Tor Vergata is very well connected to the Italian industrial and technological excellence.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition designed to challenge the minds of today’s students to solve the renewable energy innovations of tomorrow. The award-winning program inspires the teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses. The goal of these houses is not only to be attractive and energy-efficient, but also cost-effective.
Much like the Olympic decathlon, the Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests:
After joining forces for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013, West Virginia University and Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata have partnered once again to present STILE—a house that merges Italian and Appalachian design concepts with innovative energy techniques to demonstrate that residents need not sacrifice comfort for solar power.
STILE is a simple and compact house covered by an elegant, Roman-inspired arch. The arch creates a covered passage that guides visitors inside, shades the house, and supports the solar energy arrays. A patio occurs naturally as a result of the arch’s shading effect.
STILE’s floor plan maximizes public spaces and promotes an open flow with the outdoors. The northern section contains private spaces, including the bathroom, bedroom, and utility room. The rest of the house is designed as common space with entertaining in mind. This includes the kitchen and dining area as well as the large, open living room, which features a solar chimney that ventilates the house. In addition, many of the southern walls are large sliding-glass doors that can open to allow residents to enjoy nice weather inside and out.