Bon Voyage, Apollo's Suns!  - EmPower Solar

Bon Voyage, Apollo’s Suns! 

With the Solar Decathlon opening to the public next week, Apollo’s Suns are preparing for their trip to Versailles, France! They are the first place team in the 2014 EmPower Solar Student Competition.

Sarah Walsh and Liam Hofmeister of Team Apollo’s Suns
placed first in the student competition

This year, EmPower Solar asked high school students from Long Island and New York City to analyze the benefits of solar for a building in their community. Their entries included a mathematical analysis of the building’s solar potential, a business letter to the building owner, and thirty-second video explaining why their team should go to the Solar Decathlon. Over 115 students from 25 schools participated, and their friends & family are eligible for a solar discount on their own home!

Teams took a look at all sorts of buildings – homes, schools, hospitals, veterinary clinics, grocery stores, and even an ice skating rink! Their business letters highlighted the financial savings and environmental benefits that solar power provides building owners and their communities. One important point that many students made is that solar savings can be allocated to other important needs, such as college savings, vacations, or improving a business’ services. You can view all student teams’ entries on our Student Competition YouTube Channel:

Stakes were particularly high this year with a grand-prize trip to the Solar Decathlon in Versailles! The Solar Decathlon is an annual competition that is alternately hosted in the United States and countries around the world. The 2014 Decathlon will have university teams from 16 countries exhibit 20 sustainable homes. The collegiate teams will compete in 10 categories, such as affordability, innovation, comfort, and engineering.

EmPower Solar was proud to host one of the Decathlon’s competition teams this year – Team Techstyle Haus – at the Family Solar Night Awards Ceremony for the student competition. Isby Lubin and Sam Zeif of Brown University shared information about their design process, and how photovoltaic solar power will provide even more energy than the home uses.

Techstyle Haus is a passive house, which means that it “doesn’t require as much energy as conventional homes in the first place, because the design takes advantage of environmental conditions to make its inhabitants comfortable, rather than relying on mechanical systems.” The design incorporates elements such as occupancy sensors, solar thermal hot water, greywater gardens, and energy-efficient appliances. You can learn more about their project through this video:

We look forward to hearing back from Liam and Sarah about their trip to Versailles! They’ll be guest blogging about their travels once they return in July. You can read more about the competition on our website – and check back about the 2015 student competition, too!

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