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Florida International University’s 2005 Solar Decathlon Entry

Washington, D.C.

FSEC and Building America (BAIHP) researchers provided technical assistance to Florida International University (FIU) students and faculty for their 2005 Solar Decathlon entry (links below).

FIU Professor Yong X. Tao, PhD, BAIHP Researcher Janet McIlvaine, and Project Architect Robert Perez (an FIU student when the project began) in the courtyard area of FIU's Solar Decathlon entry.

Researchers discussed strengths, weaknesses and technical issues of the team’s schematic design including cooling loads and strategies for mitigating each (reflective roofing, advanced glazing, shading, ventilation, point source moisture exhaust, etc.), building integrated solar (PV) systems, solar water heating, mechanical system design, energy storage, construction challenges, and the aesthetics of energy efficiency. Students used ray tracing capability of the CAD tools already in use to study shading and daylighting.

Energy Features:

  • Reflective exterior finishes
  • Small, properly sized air conditioner
  • Operable, spectrally selective windows and doors
  • Daylighting
  • PV-integrated windows, which the team will also use as a projection surface (see picture)

The team worked long and hard to turn the design into a reality they proudly assembled on the Mall in Washington D.C. in the Solar Village with 17 other teams of college and university students.The Village and homes were open to the public October 7-16. The 2007 competition has already begun with proposal due December 2. The competition sponsor, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that teams competing in the 2007 Decathlon will each receive $100,000 funding. For more information, visit the DOE link below.

North facade: spectrally selective glass and shading
devises reduce solar gain.
South facade of FIU entry where a solar water heater
and an extensive PV array soak up the sun.