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Team Living Light Vies for Solar Decathlon Prize

KNOXVILLE— Living Light, the University of Tennessee's state-of-the-art, zero-energy house is at the Washington Mall to compete in the US Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon.

Representing more than 200 students and nine academic programs, UT’s team will face off against nineteen other teams in a series of ten events beginning September 23. Winners will be announced October 1.

More than two years of work have gone into qualifying, planning, designing and building the 750-square-foot home inspired by Appalachia’s cantilever barns.

To see the stunning outcome of Living Light’s work, watch a tour of the home:

Along with being on display, the house will be part of ten competitive events to judge design excellence, sustainability, energy production, solar energy efficiency, consumer appeal and cost-effectiveness. The house’s energy source must power its appliances and heat water and one event involves cooking and hosting a dinner party.

Visitors to the Washington Mall will tour the houses and learn how energy-efficient features can help them save money. UT students have been preparing to give tours and have been advised to plan for seeing an average of 400 people an hour through the home.

UT students designed the structure to be transportable on its own and to avoid extensive construction and set-up that they’ve seen teams struggle through when visiting the past Solar Decathlon competitions.

Living Light began with students and faculty in the College of Architecture and Design and is led by faculty members James Rose, Edward Stach, Richard Kelso, and Barbara Klinkhammer in the college, along with Deb Shmerler in the School of Art, Leon Tolbert in electrical engineering, and Stan Johnson and Bill Miller in mechanical engineering.

UT’s competition hails from America and abroad, including Ohio State, Purdue, the University of Illinois, and teams that represent several large schools in Florida, along with New Zealand, China, Belgium, and Canada.

To show your support, go to this website on September 23 and vote for Living Light to receive the People’s Choice Award. Voting continues until 7:00 p.m. on September 30.



Kiki Roeder, kroeder@utk.edu