The Solar Decathlon And Abet Ec 2000
Shana Craft, David Click, P. Paxton Marshall
2004 Annual Conference Proceedings
In October 2002 the University of Virginia (UVA) Solar House team placed second in the inaugural Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), culminating a two year effort in which over 100 engineering and architecture students designed and built a solar-powered house. The sunshine falling on the house supplies all the energy needs of a normal family, as the design incorporates photovoltaic generation of electricity and solar water heating for domestic hot water and space
... eating using a radiant floor. There is also a stone-lined sunroom for collecting and storing solar energy, and adjustable louvers over the extensive southfacing glazing to regulate incoming solar radiation. Data logging, control and user interface are integrated by a LabVIEW-based automation system. The house continues to serve as a laboratory for multidisciplinary capstone design team projects. The project, which allows students to learn energy concepts in an integrated realistic setting, provides numerous benefits for engineering students that are often lacking in standard engineering instruction, and that are being emphasized by the new ABET EC 2000 criteria. It introduces them to holistic systems thinking-that the system is not necessarily optimized by optimizing the subsystems individually. It connects with the real world experiences of students. It provides an ideal vehicle for "incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints that include most of the following considerations: economic; environmental; sustainability; manufacturability; ethical; health and safety; social; and political". [ABET EC2000, criterion 4] It demands initiative and provides leadership opportunities in project management, cost estimation and budgeting, marketing and fund-raising. It develops manual skills, communication skills, and teamwork skills. It values and develops aesthetic judgment and creativity. This paper will describe the Solar Decathlon, the UVA house design, the educational value of the project, and how it contributes to the goals of ABET EC 2000.