Appalachian Students Place 3rd in Their Division at the 2021 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge

Building Science students were selected as finalists in the 2021 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge April. Undertaking this complex project challenge during the Spring semester, student teams had just 3 months to study design problems and create comprehensive solutions for the Suburban Single Family (SSF) and the Attached Housing (AH) divisions. Presenting virtually, teams competed and shared their work to juries of industry experts.

Graduate students taking TEC 5380 – Advanced Building Science presented their attached housing design that was a response to an ambitious design challenge. Students sought to design an affordable, fully panelized attached housing solution for marginal building sites in Appalachia. The team of 11 graduate students tackled a wide range of difficult design priorities and put together a compelling concept and design.

A team of undergraduate students placed third in the Suburban Single Family competition! This was a coordinated effort between three faculty members: Jason Miller, Reza Foroughi, and Andrew Windham. The collaboration brought seniors together from the three Building Sciences concentrations: Architectural Technology & Design, Construction Management, and Sustainable Building Systems.

Nearly 50 students were organized into six integrated architecture (ATD), engineering (SBS) and construction (CMT) teams, and they competed for a chance to present at the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. The team composed of Jori Durham (ATD), Sara Taylor (ATD), Denton Clark (CMT), Kacie Beck (CMT), Matthew Cook (CMT), Kyle Grogan (CMT), John Medford (CMT), and Emily Malinowski (SBS) was ultimately selected to represent Appalachian State on the national stage where they received high praise from the judges and placed third in their division.

A special thanks goes out to our industry and consulting architect partners who shared their knowledge and provided feedback and support to the student teams. Our partners included:

  • Yancey County Economic Development Commission & the Town of Burnsville, NC
  • John Arnaud ’11, John Arnaud Architect (Charlotte, NC)
  • Hunter Coffey, Coffey Architecture (Boone, NC)
  • Matthew Griffith and Zach Hoffman ’11, in situ studio (Raleigh, NC)
  • Jeff Jordan, Jeff Jordan Architects (Jersey City, NJ)
  • Adam Sebastian, STITCH Design Shop (Winston-Salem, NC)
  • Don Woodruff, Don Woodruff Architect (Deep Gap, NC)
  • Paul Drace, SmartLam, (Dothan, AL / Columbia Falls, MT)
  • Charles Leahy '89, Eco-Panels (Mocksville, NC)
  • Matt Oblinsky, Deltec Homes (Asheville, NC)

Finally, the faculty congratulate all of these students who took part in this project under adverse conditions brought on by the pandemic. It should also be emphasized that these students conducted their projects over the course of 3 months where many teams work on the projects for closer to 7 months. Students had to learn how to work together remotely and deliver professional content on short deadlines. This is hopefully a valuable experience for their professional lives.

3rd place trophy for the Suburban Single Family Division of the 2021 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge
Published: Jun 23, 2021 11:16am