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Illinois selected to compete in 2009 solar decathlon

Stephanie Lulay, News Bureau

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Photo by Susan McKenna
Illinois' 2007 entry, elementhouse, won two of the 10 contest division and placed ninth overall.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It’s back to the drawing board for the engineering and architecture students – and all the others from across the University of Illinois campus. The U. of I. will return to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to compete in the 2009 Solar Decathlon.

The U.S. Department of Energy selected Illinois, which placed ninth overall in the 2007 competition, as one of 20 teams for the next contest.

Elementhouse, Illinois’ 2007 entry, won two of the 10 contest divisions: market viability and comfort zone. The overall winner was the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany. The University of Maryland and Santa Clara University finished second and third, respectively.

Teams for the fourth Solar Decathlon – from Canada, Germany, Spain and the U.S. – will receive $100,000 to design, build and operate an energy-efficient, fully solar-powered home.

Hundreds of students participated in the 2007 project and hundreds more will be involved in the 2009 entry from architecture, business, engineering, communications, and art and design.

Patrick Chapman, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the lead adviser for the 2009 Illinois team.

The biannual project was started as part of the President’s Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar power cost-competitive by 2015.

The U. of I.’s 2007 entry is on view at the Chicago Center for Green Technology.