News / USA

Teamwork Critical to Solar Decathlon Success

Teamwork, Flexibility Critical To Decathlon Successi
X
October 09, 2013 2:41 PM
Homes of the future are being displayed in Irvine, California at the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. It's a biannual event in which 20 collegiate teams from around the world compete to build the most energy efficient solar-powered home that is also affordable and attractive. One of the teams is representing the University of Southern California. Elizabeth Lee shows us why this team calls itself a "solar family."
Elizabeth Lee
A team from Austria wins first place in this year's Solar Decathlon held in Irvine California.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, it is a biennial event where collegiate teams from around the world compete to build the most energy efficient solar-powered home that is also affordable and attractive.  One team in this year’s competition is from the University of Southern California.  Even though Team USC did not win, the members say the experience helped them create a solar family.

As the minutes go by, the pressure builds.

In a home powered by the sun, Evyn Larson and her teammates, from the University of Southern California, are hosting a dinner party for their opponents.  This is one of 10 competitions in the Solar Decathlon.  From the food to the ambience, everything will be judged by members of other teams.

While Larson and her teammates are in the kitchen, project manager Justin Kang is monitoring other parts of the house.  “It’s quite stressful to see numbers and screens every hour,” he said.

The numbers come from sensors that record temperature and and humidity. The team can earn points based on those numbers.

Just a few days ago, Team USC was still finishing the inside of the home and checking to make sure everything works.  That includes a sun roof that opens and closes with the push of a button. Each team had nine days to assemble a house on the runway of a former Marine Corps base.  

”You’d be surprised that, over a year and a-half of seeing each other every day, every waking hour, we still have a very amicable relationship. We like to go out together," Kang stated. "We crack jokes and we’re very close. It’s like a solar family that we created within our community.”

That experience taught them a lesson. “In the real world, nothing is perfect. There’s always glitches and snags I hit everyday," explained Kang. "Instead of complaining and whining you have to roll with the punches and find ways around it."  

With lessons learned and the house finished, it's time to show it to the judges and the public.

Most American homes do not run on solar power for a good reason, said Richard King, director of the Solar Decathlon. “Cost is a factor absolutely, and it’s because you’re buying equipment, and they’re fairly expensive," he said.

But a few houses, including this one, will become real homes.  USC is donating this house to a family near the university.  

“I think it’s very exciting to think about somebody just living in it and it’s their home and they’re super comfortable in it," Larson  noted.

A California family will give the home a purpose beyond the competition and hopefully love it as much as Team USC does.

You May Like

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid