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Team California Begins Construction on the 2009 Solar Decathlon House

Friday, Mar. 27, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 27, 2009—Tool belts and hard hats have replaced the backpacks and the laptops of some students at Santa Clara University and California College of Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, as they began construction on a solar-powered house for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon.

When the first shipment of lumber and steel arrived at Santa Clara University’s campus early Tuesday morning, the students went right to work, building the core of the 800 square-foot home. A beam of refracted light served as the inspiration for the 2009 home design. Some of the features of the innovative systems include photovoltaic array, high-efficiency inverters, and thermal efficiencies, all of which will help run a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, and cook a meal.

The Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, brings together 20 teams from colleges and universities around the world to design, build, and operate the most energy-efficient, attractive, and comfortable house, powered exclusively by the sun. In October, the teams will transport their homes to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., creating a “solar village.”

On Friday, April 3, from 3–5 p.m., in the Multipurpose room at Bannan Engineering Laboratories at Santa Clara, SCU and CCA students will present their plans to the public. They’ll share the blueprints and show the green building materials and the state-of-the-art solar technology that minimize the environmental impact but maximize comfort and livability of the house.

Students will provide models, full-scale mock-ups, and give tours of the construction site and of SCU’s 2007 house that won third place. Students will also explain how they came up with the unique shape of the house and how they’re planning to bring the outdoors in.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, SCU trustee and Applied Materials Chairman and CEO Mike Splinter, SCU President Michael Engh, S.J., and SCU’s School of Engineering Dean Godfrey Mungal will be in attendance.

Santa Clara University is competing in the Solar Decathlon for a second time. The collaboration with California College of Arts in San Francisco has created Team California. The partnership combines SCU’s strength in engineering and CCA’s expertise in architecture.

In the 2007 Solar Decathlon, Santa Clara placed third but would have won first place had it scored better in the architecture aspect of the competition. SCU still beat universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and two-time decathlon-winner University of Colorado, Boulder.

For more information about Team California and their house, see

About Solar Decathlon
The Solar Decathlon is a biennial, international competition that’s sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. There are ten areas of the competition:  architecture, engineering, market viability, communications, comfort, appliances, hot water, lighting, energy balance, and transportation. The house must not only produce enough electricity and hot water to perform all the functions of a home, but it must also power an electric car. For more information, see

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

About California College of Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is noted for the interdisciplinary and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in 20 undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. For more information about CCA, visit

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