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UM Fourth in Solar Decathlon Engineering Competition

UM Fourth in Solar Decathlon Engineering Competition

Photo courtesy of the WaterShed team.
Photo courtesy of the WaterShed team.

In Thursday's engineering portion of the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., the university's WaterShed team placed fourth out of nineteen entrants from around the world--with only four points separating the top four competitors in the engineering category.  The team's showing was sufficient to keep WaterShed in first place overall going into the final days of the event, with the market appeal, communications, energy balance and measured performance competitions remaining to decide the final winner.  The UM team comprises over 200 students from diverse disciplines including architecture, engineering, environmental science and technology, plant sciences, landscape architecture, and numerous others.

Clark School Dean Darryll Pines congratulated the entire WaterShed team, and in particular thanked the engineering students on the team and Keith Herold, associate professor of bioengineering and the Clark School's faculty advisor for the project.  "I know that you have put in countless hours, and you have made us all proud," Pines said.  "We have built a beautiful, well-engineered home that addresses solar energy as well as water conservation challenges, and in the process learned and taught much about sustainability.  Everyone should get down to the exhibition and see what our students have accomplished!"

Herold pointed out two aspects of WaterShed's engineering systems as worthy of special attention.  "The liquid desiccant waterfall de-humidifying system is one of the more innovative technologies presented by any of the houses," he stated.  "The idea was first developed for the 2007 decathlon, and for 2011 we re-engineered it to increase contact between the air and the liquid.  If you get down to see the house, it's definitely worth a look--highly functional but also beautiful to see."  In addition, Herold cited the high level of integration designed into the house's solar thermal system.  "Because of its vertical orientation, the solar thermal collector attracts a lot of attention and is a real crowd pleaser," he stated.  "From a sustainability perspective, it does an outstanding job of fully utilizing thermal energy, providing hot water, re-generation of the desiccant liquid, and heating of the air, all from one system."

First, second, and third place teams will be announced on Saturday.  The Decathlon closes on Sunday.  For more information, see:

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September 30, 2011

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