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Spotlight: Sustainable Design + Sophisticated Technology = Urban Eden

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Spotlight: Sustainable Design + Sophisticated Technology = Urban Eden

Date Published:
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

UNC Charlotte is one of 20 universities chosen to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013. In a series of 10 contests, the Solar Decathlon challenges academic teams from around the world to build completely solar-powered houses that feature energy-efficient construction and appliances and renewable energy systems. The competition will be held in Irvine, Calif., Oct. 3-13. Established in 2002, the Solar Decathlon has grown into one of the most highly anticipated design competitions in the world, hosting more than 300,000 visitors in 2011.

UNC Charlotte's entry, "Urban Eden," is envisioned as an urban infill project that incorporates revolutionary approaches to sustainable design and construction. A series of connected indoor and outdoor rooms combine into a single environment that adapts to maximize comfort and minimize energy use.

The University is charged with raising $1 million to fund the design, construction, up-fit, and transport of the house, and to cover the costs for students and faculty to travel to California to compete. At the groundbreaking event on Feb. 8, 2013, Duke Energy and Ingersoll Rand announced their support for the UNC Charlotte project.

The UNC Charlotte team is comprised of faculty and students from three different areas: the School of Architecture, the William States Lee College of Engineering, and the Belk College of Business. Work began on the design of Urban Eden in October 2011. The team will complete the house this summer, testing it on the UNC Charlotte campus before transporting it to California in September. After the competition, the team’s goal is to bring the house back to Charlotte for use as a research lab.

To learn more about this project, visit the Urban Eden website.