UT’s Team Living Light Places Eighth in Solar Contest

University of Tennessee’s Team Living Light came in eighth in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon, which concluded Saturday.

Members of Team Living Light pose with their entry.The team, representing more than 200 students and nine academic programs, excelled in several of the decathlon events held during the last ten days, including capturing third in engineering, fifth in architecture, and third in the use of energy-efficient appliances. The UT team also tied for first place in the cornerstone area of the competition, the Energy Balance Contest. Living Light garnered perfect marks by achieving a net-zero energy balance throughout the competition, as the home produced enough solar energy to maintain all of the house’s needs.

University of Maryland won the overall competition.

“We are incredibly proud of our Living Light students and faculty. They represented our university quite well with great professionalism, enthusiasm, and extensive knowledge of sustainable design and building,” Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said. “We look forward to welcoming them home and supporting their efforts to use the house as a mobile classroom across the state.”

More than two years of work went into qualifying, planning, designing, and building the home, inspired by Appalachia’s cantilever barns. The team developed significant sponsors and involvement of alumni and business and industry throughout the project.

The Living Light project began with students and faculty in the College of Architecture and Design and was led by faculty members Edgar Stach, Richard Kelso, James Rose, and Barbara Klinkhammer of the college, along with Deb Shmerler in the School of Art, Leon Tolbert in electrical engineering, and Stan Johnson and Bill Miller in mechanical engineering.

Upon its return to Knoxville, the Living Light house will transform into a mobile classroom and laboratory as a part of Living Light’s Tennessee Tour. A joint effort of the UT College of Architecture and Design and the UT Institute of Agriculture Office of Extension, the house will travel around the state and beyond as a teaching tool for K-12 students and industry professionals to learn about cutting-edge sustainable science, technology, and design.

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