Team Alberta receives major boost for international competition in Washington, D.C. this fall
A Calgary student-led team building a solar-powered home for a high-profile international competition has received major backing from ENMAX Corporation.
ENMAX Corporation is joining Team Alberta’s project as title sponsor of the custom-built solar home, newly named the “ENMAX SolAbode.”
“A dramatic shift is beginning to take place in terms of how everyday homes are powered,” says ENMAX CEO, Gary Holden. “Solar and wind power, as well as other advanced technologies will transform homes from being users of electricity, to generators of electricity. Supporting these students through the ENMAX SolAbode project is our way of investing into the energy leaders of tomorrow.”
Team Alberta is the first all-western Canadian team to be selected to compete – with 19 other university and college teams from around the world – in the U.S. Department of Energy’s prestigious 2009 Solar Decathlon this fall.
The team’s Alberta Solar Decathlon project is led by students from four Calgary post-secondary schools: the University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic, Mount Royal College and the Alberta College of Art + Design.
The team is building the ENMAX SolAbode modular home under a large white tent near the intersection of the TransCanada Highway and 14th Street N.W., on a parking lot donated by SAIT. The completed 800-square-foot home will be taken apart in the fall and shipped to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it will be reassembled, put on public display and judged at the popular Solar Decathlon competition.
“This major contribution from title sponsor ENMAX will enable our team to complete this exciting project,” says project chair Mark Blackwell, a third-year energy management student at the U of C. “It speaks to the leadership and foresight that ENMAX has in the area of encouraging renewable energy sources such as solar power.”
The Solar Decathlon, sponsored mainly by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance the use of solar technologies in residential housing, takes place every two years at a ‘solar village’ created on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Twenty teams from around the world vie to design, build and operate the most energy-efficient solar-powered home in the event, which attracts upwards of 150,000 visitors and widespread media attention.
“SolAbode is the product of many months of hard work by our dedicated team. We are right on track to have everything ready for the competition this October,” says project manager Matt Beck, an environmental design graduate student at the U of C.
“We have reached a great milestone in the construction of our home, with volunteers helping us raise the heavy structural support timbers,” says construction manager Turc Harmesynn, a recent honours graduate from SAIT’s architectural technology program. “We want to complete construction by no later than the end of July, so we have time to test all of the home’s solar systems.”
Team Alberta’s energy-efficient design retains a traditional western Canadian wooden post-and-beam structure, while incorporating energy-efficient solar panels to produce electricity. The exterior of the ENMAX SolAbode features reclaimed barn wood and Rundle rock cladding from the Rockies, forming a ‘banded’ pattern, echoed inside the home through a solar-heated hot water system integrated into a glazing unit. A south-facing deck and a rooftop patio are accessible from inside the home.
Post-secondary students participating in the Solar Decathlon get invaluable hands-on experience, not just in design and engineering but in business management, fundraising, marketing, communications and logistics. New knowledge created by the students over the last two years will be integrated into academic programs in the future.
Team Alberta is working with federal and Alberta government officials and the only other Canadian team entered, Team North, to host a V.I.P. event and a clean energy trade show at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. during the Solar Decathlon competition.
For more information about Team Alberta, visit: www.solabode.ca
For more information about the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, visit: www.solardecathlon.org