ASU chosen to compete in international solar home competition

January 27, 2012

Arizona State University has been selected to be part of one of 20 teams from universities and colleges throughout the United States and the world to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013.

ASU will team with the University of New Mexico (UNM) for the international competition to build energy-efficient, solar-powered houses “that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence,” according to the DOE’s announcement. photovoltaic technology Download Full Image

At a Jan. 26 ceremony on the UNM campus to announce selection of the teams, DOE Secretary Steven Chu met with ASU/UNM team members, including ASU’s Katherine Muto, an engineering education doctoral student; James LeBeau, an electrical engineering doctoral student; and Edward Burgess, who is pursuing a master’s degree in the Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization program.

Teams will begin a nearly two-year process of designing, constructing and testing their structures. They will reassemble the houses next year in Irvine, Calif., for the Solar Decathlon event at the Orange County Great Park.

Houses will be judged on architectural and engineering features, and how energy for heating and cooling is produced, among other things.

The competition provides ASU an opportunity to combine its educational and research resources in engineering, architecture, design and other disciplines “to tackle the pressing problem of energy sustainability,” says Christiana Honsberg, an engineering professor at ASU.

Honsberg is director of the ASU-based Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST) Engineering Research Center (a national center supported by the DOE and the National Science Foundation) in which the University of New Mexico is a key partner.

Knowledge generated from QESST’s efforts to achieve advances in photovoltaic technology to harness solar power in economically viable and sustainable ways will be incorporated into the ASU/UNM team’s Solar Decathlon home design.

The competition “gives the engineers, architects, designers and energy entrepreneurs of the tomorrow a chance to contribute to advances that could enable all members of our community to benefit from the endless supply of energy from the sun,” Honsberg says.

The team will focus on developing building designs and energy systems best suited to the Southwest’s desert climate, says Matthew Fraser, ASU associate professor.

Fraser and Honsberg are senior sustainability scientists with the university’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Honsberg is also on the faculty of the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, and Fraser is on the faculty of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. The schools are part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

More information about Solar Decathlon 2013 and the universities and college teams selected to compete, see the Energy.Gov website.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Design School scores hole in one at Phoenix Open

January 28, 2012

The idea for a four-hole miniature golf installation at the annual Phoenix Open golf tournament began two years ago in Berlin when Darren Petrucci, director of The Design School, was taken to a rooftop building putt-putt course and handed a golf club.

The 18-hole miniature golf course had the element of pure fun that Petrucci wanted to inject into a project for ASU Herberger Institute architecture and design students. Students and faculty from The Design School created putt-putt holes to demonstrate the energy-saving efforts of Waste Management at the 2012 Phoenix Open. Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Download Full Image

When Petrucci returned to the Tempe campus, The Design School faculty embraced the idea and expanded it to include one of professional golf’s premiere tournaments: the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC golf course in Scottsdale.

This semester an estimated 30 students and faculty from The Design School’s architecture, landscape architecture and design disciplines teamed up with Waste Management, the sponsor of the Phoenix Open, to showcase the Houston-based company’s sustainability efforts at the 2012 Phoenix Open.

Students designed four holes that each featured one of the company’s sustainability initiatives, from the use of nonpotable water and recycling plastic cups to solar power and the reuse of materials.

Avid golfers on the project made sure that each hole presented a putting challenge.

The four-hole installation was prominently displayed at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open, attended by more than 500,000 tournament-goers.

The interactive display provided visitors with a chance to try their skills at a hole in one and, at the same time, learn about Waste Management’s sustainability initiatives and Arizona’s four ecosystems.

The project took an estimated five months, over the span of two semesters, from conception and design to installation.

The miniature golf project showcased “what we are capable of as a group of multi-discipline designers,’’ said Christopher Lasch, a lecturer in The Design School and one of the project’s lead faculty members.

In recognition of its appreciation, Waste Management donated $10,000 in scholarships to the student participants.

“Waste Management is extremely pleased with the innovative ways The Design School at Arizona State University showcased some of our sustainability and charitable initiatives to all of the tournament fans through an interactive game of miniature golf at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open,” said Dave Aardsma, chief sales and marketing officer for Waste Management.

At the close of the Phoenix Open, the miniature golf installation will be on display as part of Emerge, an event scheduled to take place March 1-3, at Neeb Plaza, on the Tempe campus, where nationally known artists and scientists will join with ASU faculty and students to explore emerging technologies and the futures they promise.

Public Contact: 
Susan Felt
Coordinator Communications and Marketing

Media Contact:
Susan Felt
Coordinator Communications and Marketing