Team Las Vegas, a group of students and faculty from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), are designing a solar-powered, energy efficient to compete for cash prizes at the Solar Decathlon 2017 in Denver. Their house is aimed at meeting the needs of the coming senior population in the US, know as the “Gray Tsunami.” The team behind the house has now raised $750,000 of the $1 million they anticipate the house’s design, construction and transportation will cost through crowd-funding and support from multiple donors.
The home is a full-sized, completely solar-powered home designed for residents that are 65 years or older. In addition to being solar-powered and energy efficient, the house is designed with safety features that will allow stay-in-place seniors to live more independently as they age. It includes health-monitoring technology that communicates with caregivers and mobility safety features for the elderly.
“Solar Decathlon is truly a collaborative project, bringing together an interdisciplinary team of UNLV students and faculty and incorporating input and guidance from the very community the home is being built for,” said Rama Venkat, dean of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. “And none of it would be possible without the ideas, innovations, and significant funding by major industry partners and market innovators including Switch and NV Energy Foundation.”
Team Las Vegas has performed well in previous Solar Decathlons as in 2013, when its DesertSol home, placed first among American teams and second among all the international competition. This year Team Las Vegas will have to contend with a team from another region with a high percentage of retirees. Hailing from Embry-Riddle and Daytona State College, Team Daytona Beach’s BEACH house is designed to utilize shading and natural ventilation to perform efficiently in the hot and humid climate of central Florida.
The US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2017 will take place from Oct. 15 to Oct. 19. It is a decathlon of challenges for 13 collegiate teams that tests the homes on their solar powered and energy efficient capabilities. This is the first time winning teams will split a pot of cash prizes totaling $2 million. Each participant team will receive $100,000 to assist with construction of their home. The first place winner will receive $300,000, second place $225,000 and third place $150,000.Tweet