ASUC Solar Decathlon
Project Sponsor: ASUC’s Solar Decathlon
TGIF Grant: $32,500
Project Theme: Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Project Description: The Solar Decathlon 2017 is a two year competition in which 16 collegiate teams will design and build a Net Zero Energy solar home that will be showcased and judged in Denver, CO. Our team, RISE, is currently designing a multi-family living space for the city of Richmond, CA that aims to provide a sustainable and efficient solution for urban infill lots. Our design will use innovative technologies to be spatially, energy, and water efficient while still creating a welcoming and communal living environment. In addition, we are working to educate both our school community and the public about the benefits of sustainable design by holding speaker series, hosting a class, and presenting on our work.
Project Goals: Solar Decathlon is a two year interdisciplinary competition where teams design, build, and maintain 600 to 1,000 sq ft homes that incorporate both cutting edge solar technologies and innovative green design. In 2017, RISE will be UC Berkeley’s first team to ever compete in the event. As a team of students who come from various academic backgrounds in the pursuit to design, build, and operate a net zero home for a competition, we share a common goal to create a house that presents solutions to environmental concerns while also addressing affordability and rapid urbanization solutions in housing.
Buildings, the largest source of carbon emissions in the country, account for 39% of all U.S. emissions. Residential and commercial buildings use excessive energy for climate control, lighting, washing, electronic appliances, and more. These emissions must be reduced immediately and drastically to prevent the global temperature mean from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius, which 97% of climate scientists have concluded we must avoid at all costs. Such a temperature rise will occur within the decade if our current policies persist unchanged.
The team also believes that in the transition to a green society it is imperative that we provide all homeowners with the ability to make sustainable adjustments to their home without accumulating enormous debt and high-interest loans. To spearhead this change, the building sector needs to incorporate more energy-efficient systems, materials, and construction methods in a cost-effective manner that appeals to consumers. If green building methods are to become more prevalent, they must become cheaper for homeowners.
RISE team’s vision for the competition is to design a multi-family building for the city of Richmond, a San Francisco suburb, which resembles many of the cities in the East Bay. They have found that Richmond is transitioning from its current suburban environment to a high density Bay Area city. Thus, for the competition, we will build one unit of a multi-family, multi-story building that will successfully function as a single family home. This versatile and innovative approach to the competition will shed new light on housing solutions that will be applicable in many areas across the country.