MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — On West Virginia University’s campus, a house is being built only to be taken apart and hauled across the country.
A team of fifty WVU and University of Rome Tor Vergata students has been chosen to participate in the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition.
“We work with a lot of community support and sponsors to help us design and actually pick out what goes in the house,” said team leader Sharrafti Kuzmar. “We’ve just broken ground and started construction here in Morgantown.”
Just 16 schools are chosen to compete bi-annually.
Solar decathlon team members collaborate to design and build energy efficient solar powered home. It takes a diverse group of students to be competitive, according to Kuzmar.
“We have engineering majors. We have landscape architecture, interior design, communications and finance. So, it’s a very big collaborative project between all of the students at WVU as well as the University of Rome Tor Vergata.”
Ten students from Italy arrived at WVU this month to work on construction. The team competes in the decathlon in Irvine, California in October.
“The kicker is we have to build it modularly. We have to design the house easily so we can break it back down and ship it across country to California and compete there,” Kuzmar explained.
Students, who represent a number of WVU schools and colleges, had to raise money for the project in addition to the $100,000 from the Department of Education before they could even begin construction. The solar powered home can’t exceed $250,000.
Students will have fewer than 9 days to prepare on-site for the competition.
“We try to build as much of it here to test out all the appliances, all the materials, cut everything to size and then get there and put it all together,” said Kuzmar.
The winning team must produce as much or more energy than it consumes.