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It's a Solar Decathlon! Concordia and McGill join forces

Next summer, a Montreal dream team heads to China for the next global green-building competition
2 novembre 2016
By Amanda Clarke

Project renderings from the 2015 Solar Decathlon | Photo courtesy of the US Energy Department Project renderings from the 2015 Solar Decathlon | Photo courtesy of the US Energy Department

There will be no high jumping or hurdles involved, but Concordia and McGill are aiming for a strong performance when their team competes at the Solar Decathlon China 2017 next August.

Originally launched by the United States Department of Energy in 2002, the event is a biennial green energy building contest that challenges collegiate teams to design, construct and operate an architecturally sophisticated and energy efficient solar-powered house.

TeamMTL is an interinstitutional and interdisciplinary group made up of faculty members and students from Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and the John Molson School of Business, as well as McGill’s School of Architecture.

Together, they’ll be participating in the upcoming competition in Dezhou — China’s “Sun City.”

Each team has to construct a two-storey, solar-powered house with a floor area of 120 to 200 square metres. Every house must be equipped with solar-powered household appliances and an electric vehicle and charging device.

The jury will evaluate the cost feasibility, power efficiency, environmental adaptability, power generation capacity and architectural quality of the home.

Bruno Lee, assistant professor in Concordia’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, participated in the Solar Decathlon when he was a student. He says the event offers team members an unparalleled experience.

“Students immerse themselves in an integrated design environment by working with experts in the field. They learn to consider different aspects of design, examine options and handle scenarios through the whole design-build-operation cycle.”

TeamMTL’s design, the Deep-Performance Dwelling (“DPD”), is net-zero energy capable and low or zero carbon system-built. Plus it suits the climate and architecture of Montreal and Dezhou.

Students involved in the construction of the DPD will conduct courses and research led by Lee, Carmela Cucuzzella, associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Design and Computation Arts and associate professor Michael Jemtrud from McGill’s School of Architecture.

Jemtrud describes the Solar Decathlon competition as “an extraordinary hands-on, inter-institutional teaching and learning opportunity for students and faculty alike that brings the classroom into the community.”

“It is a collaboration that allows teams to tangibly engage some of the most pressing issues facing society and urban life today through the lens of the urban built environment.”

Construction begins on the Loyola Campus this winter. Once the home has been built and tested, it will be dismantled and shipped to Dezhou for the competition next summer.

Learn more about Concordia’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering


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