University’s Solar Decathlon entry wins People’s Choice Award, places third in engineering category

Monday, October 14, 2013

UrbanEden, UNC Charlotte’s entry for the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, won the People’s Choice Award at the contest finals in California.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, UrbanEden “has a variety of sustainability features, such as thermal mass, passive solar and radiant energy, as well as unique technologies that demonstrated true innovation, including radiant geopolymer concrete walls, movable photovoltaic shading and a nighttime radiation emitter.

“These technologies helped the team win a third-place award in the engineering contest. But what wins the People’s Choice Award is capturing the hearts of visitors. And their house is beautiful, with its light-filled rooms that open to a garden-rimmed outdoor deck, laminated bamboo cabinetry and paneling and continuous ash flooring.

“UrbanEden is a house people can imagine themselves living in. A house that could easily become a home.”

Chris Jarrett, director of the School of Architecture, said, "We are all so proud of our incredible team. Across three colleges, multiple centers, University offices, industry partners, professional advisors, alumni, civic leaders and most importantly our students, the countless hours over two years – the dedication, belief, sweat and tears, the aspiration, creativity, hope and collaboration – have been an inspiration to everyone.”

UNC Charlotte Solar Decathlon participants were presented the People’s Choice Award during a private reception at Hanger 244 in the Orange County Great Park.

Vienna University of Technology was the overall Solar Decathlon 2013 winner, second place went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Team Prague from the Czech Republic placed third.

The UNC Charlotte team was comprised of faculty and students from three different areas: the School of Architecture, the Lee College of Engineering and the Belk College of Business. Support for the two-year project of designing and building the house came from a broad array of University units, as well as many private and corporate funders, including Duke Energy and Ingersoll Rand.

The team will dismantle UrbanEden and return the house to UNC Charlotte.