Reaching Across the Globe to Help Meet Tomorrow’s Energy Challenges

WPI Leads an International Team in Solar Decathlon Competition
February 15, 2013

A WPI student helps assemble Solatrium, the WPI

team's entry in the Solar Decathlon China 2013.

In what is truly a collaborative effort, WPI is leading a team charged with designing and building a family home that is energy self-sufficient and draws on the power of the sun to sustain itself and supply its own heating, cooling, and electricity.

The project is an extension of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition, being held in China for the first time this year. The 25-member WPI team—one of 23 international teams to take part in the challenge—includes students and faculty members from Ghent University in Belgium and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, who have been assisted by 30 students from Worcester Technical High School.

Team BEMANY (named for the locations of the institutions—Belgium, Massachusetts, and New York) will build the Solatrium, as it’s been dubbed by the students, in a warehouse close to the WPI campus and ship it to China for the competition. The team will have an especially busy week next month when students from Ghent University arrive to participate in the construction phase.

This important project could not have been possible without the support of concerned and enthusiastic sponsors. Find out who helped make the Solatrium a reality.

Students in WPI's new architectural engineering program are crafting most aspects of the house, including structural design, mechanical and electrical systems, and energy modeling.

The project is a natural extension of WPI’s project-based educational program, in which students apply practical knowledge to providing solutions for real-world needs. Here they display the innovation that will be required to meet tomorrow’s energy—and living—demands.

The governments of the United States and the People's Republic of China have a common goal in fostering sustainable economic and social development while encouraging the use of renewable energy. Cooperative international efforts such as Solar Decathlon China attract the best and brightest to direct their education and abilities toward building a more optimistic future for our planet.

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