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UNC Charlotte Team Ready For Solar Decathlon Judging

The UNC Charlotte Solar Decathlon Team is one of 19 teams chosen from all over the world to compete in a U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition.  

For the last two weeks, the team has been putting its house back together after it was taken apart to be shipped from Charlotte to Irvine, California. Michelle Todd is one of two dozen UNC Charlotte students and faculty members at the competition.

Credit Tasnim Shamma
Recent graduate Brian Ouimette works with a plumber, Rony Yanes, to figure out how much pressure they should put through the compressor to test the safety valves. The house is equipped with an internal heating and cooling system through capillary tubes inside the walls.

"I think it's pretty great because everyone is so diversified in what they've done," Todd says. "And our house sticks out because we are the only house that used concrete as a primary building material. So when you're walking down what they call Decathlete Way, you see our building as kind of like this mass that just stands out among all the other houses, so it has a large presence."

The estimated $350,000 solar house is made of concrete polymer and glass walls that line the back of the rooms. There's a spacious back porch, a vertical garden that provides privacy, a small pond and 36 solar panels on the top of the roof.

The house is going through a series of inspections to make sure it's up to code and will go through ten contests where teams will have to cook in the house, do laundry and other tasks to test performance, livability, and affordability. The winner will be announced on October 12.