College Collaboration Building Solar House

By: Chelsea Priest

It was a busy day at the delivery dock for the site where the parts of a solar powered house will be built by a team of Brown, RISD, and a German University students.

Over 40 teams applied but only 20 were accepted to The Solar Decathlon. It's been two years in the making and now the team is actually seeing their concepts come together.

Jonathan Knowles is an associate professor of Architecture at RISD and also the project manager. He explains, “there are 10 contests ranging from architecture, sustainability, to energy efficiency, to innovation. We've decided that we want to win innovation.”

The competition is taking place in France this July. That means the team is now down to the wire to get their concept built. In a warehouse in Providence, all the pieces for the project will be built and later in the Spring the pieces will be completely assembled outside. After it is completely built here, the house will be dismantled, shipped to France and then re-assembled in only 9 days before the start of the competition.

Knowles said the team is under the gun but also knows they have a lot of help from sponsors like Providence-based Shawmut Design and Construction, Viessmann Manufacturing, and Saint-Gobain, and an army of students will get the job done.

A large wooden mock-up has been built in the warehouse with the help of students from many different backgrounds. Isabelle Lubin is a student at Brown, she says, “there's a lot of aspects of the house that we're pulling in students from different areas of expertise from both Brown and RISD.”

Kim Dupont-Madinier is a student at RISD. She also added, “right now we're in build mode and it's really, really great to see everyone come together, doing their part and taking charge of what their job is.”

At least 30 students will be traveling to France in late June for the re-assembly and the 2 week competition.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014