Solar energy is becoming more and more popular within the residential market. Though the U.S. construction industry brings in an annual revenue of just over $1.73 trillion, an unlikely team of college students is working on constructing an 816-square-foot environmentally sustainable home.
According to The Denver Post, students from the University of California Berkeley and the University of Denver recently began competing alongside each other in the eighth installment of the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition designed to promote innovation in the sustainability sector. The two universities are among 13 collegiate teams from around the world.
The construction of the home, and the competition itself, will take place in Denver in October.
Solar panels are becoming a hot commodity for homebuyers because of their environmental and cost savings benefits. With solar panels, homeowners can save roughly $84 a month on their electricity bills.
UC Berkeley students are responsible for the majority of the design and the DU students are going to be focusing on actually constructing the home.
“They did all of the design. We don’t do a lot of that at DU,” said Chris Landsinger, a DU real estate graduate student. “But Berkeley realized they were a little short-handed and we figured we could team up with them. We’re in Denver, so we have to transport it less distance and we do a lot of construction management here. This is more our kind of field.”
DU Newsroom reports that construction of the 800-square-foot home (that also includes an 800-square-foot deck) began in early July.
“Being able to take our knowledge from the classroom and come out and actually build something feasible and physical, I think that’s where we actually connect the dots,” said Jack Ross, a graduate student in DU’s Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management. “It’s one thing to read it in a book, but to actually apply it on a job site that’s a school-sponsored project, it really takes the learning experience to the next level.”
Every collegiate partnership is guaranteed a $100,000 prize for participating in the competition, but the winning team will win the $300,000 prize. This is DU’s first time participating in the global event.