Solar Decathlon house construction phase begins

A cross-disciplinary team of University students tasked with designing and building a fully-functioning solar-powered house have, after 15 months of planning, entered the construction phase of the project. The Solar Decathlon team will re-build the house on the National Mall in October, competing with 19 other universities on all aspects of the project -- from communications to interior design.

Conor Shine, writing for the Minnesota Daily, provides an update on the progress of the team, which hopes to have the house finished by July 1, 2009 for campus display in August. "Construction manager Craig Hohensee said when completed the house will cover 800-square feet and will include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and porch. The house is being constructed in three modules to make it easier to transport to Washington," writes Shine.

After the three-week competition in Washington, DC, the house will be placed in UMore Park. Ann Johnson (Civil Engineering), the team's project manager, told Shine that the student team focused on making the house's design look like it could fit in most neighborhoods.

One of the more interesting aspects of the house is its integrated solar system. Because the house was designed from scratch, electrical engineering graduate student Brian Henke told Shine, "the team has been able to build the panels into the roof instead of mounting them on brackets."

The Daily story was subsequently picked up by Fox News.

Additional coverage, all sourced from the Associated Press's "U of M students team sprint to finish solar house:"