MME students compete in Solar Decathlon

Each year, the U.S. Department of Energy holds a Solar Decathlon, challenging college students to design and create energy-efficient buildings powered by renewable energy. Through this, students gain unique training for the workforce and are simultaneously educated in multiple aspects of energy efficiency.

This year, two Grand Winners were selected out of 45 teams. Miami’s Attached Housing team was one of them, and came first in their division as well. Miami's housing team's housing design 

The team designed housing for the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, striving to better the community without interrupting the existing site conditions. The housing they created was sustainable, affordable and did not disturb the area’s pre-existing way of life. The team’s design was even “net-zero,” meaning they produce as much energy as they use to minimize their footstep on the environment.

Participating in the Decathlon was both rewarding and challenging for the teams.

“Not only could I learn from my fellow students, but [also] faculty leaders and industry partners,” Taylor Mason, a mechanical engineering graduate student, said. “It was exciting to be able to apply the principles of engineering that I already knew to the architecture concepts I learned along the way.”

Ultimately, this is an experience that students will be able to carry with them after graduation and into their careers.

“It was such an amazing experience and opened my eyes to all of the different aspects of planning and teamwork that goes into a project of this caliber,” Jake Gansenberg, a senior architecture major with a mechanical engineering minor, said. “There is so much more going on behind the scenes in a design project than meets the eye, and we all experienced first hand the importance of every single detail in a project.”

While the teams were unable to travel to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo. to present their work, they were still able to give their presentations virtually. For more information on Miami’s Solar Decathlon teams, check out this story.

By Jenna Calderón, CEC reporter