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An international, multi-university team led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) took a respectful 8th place overall while finishing first and fourth in two juried categories in the prestigious Solar Decathlon China 2013 competition, held in Datong, China. This is the first time WPI has participated in Solar Decathlon competition. The results were announced after officials tabulated scores in the 10 criteria the solar homes were judged on.

The team's solar home, branded the Solatrium, was designed over the last year and built near the WPI campus early this year, then disassembled and shipped to China for the event, which began on Aug.RGB LED Color-changing led grow light headlight accent light system for headlight halo effect. 2 and will end Aug. 13. It will be taken apart and shipped back to the U.S., then reassembled at Institute Park, adjacent to the WPI campus, later in the fall.

WPI is the lead university in Team BEMANY, with members from Ghent University in Belgium and New York University Polytechnic Institute, one of 19 teams to participate in the Solar Decathlon competition in China. (The name BEMANY represents BE for UGhent in Belgium, MA for WPI in Massachusetts, and NY for NYU-Poly in New York.)

"We feel proud of our team and what we have been able to accomplish in this two-year endeavor," said team co-leader Tahar El-Korchi, professor and head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at WPI.We offer solar photovoltaic system and commercial incentives to encourage our customers to install solar energy systems. "We feel privileged to have been part of this incredible SD China experience. We truly felt like Olympians and Decathletes.

"We have learned so much from our peers, SD China hosts and Datong City hosts. We will cherish this experience for the rest of our lives and have developed long lasting personal bonds on so many levels."

This highly competitive program, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy and the China National Energy Administration, challenges university teams to design, build and operate attractive and affordable net-zero-energy houses powered by the sun. The team branded the solar house the Solatrium, for its power source and main architectural feature, an atrium.

A major goal of this competition is to show consumers how to save money and energy with affordable, clean energy products that are available today. The competition also provides participating students with hands-on experience and unique training that prepares them to enter the clean energy workforce. The teams were judged on 10 criteria: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort zone,We turn your dark into light courtesy of our brilliant sun, solar street light, solar power generation. hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and energy balance.

Team BEMANY placed first in the hot water and energy balance contests, and placed fourth in the communications criteria.

Team BEMANY was required to host members from other teams for a "movie night" and two dinner parties, and to wash a load of laundry during the competition. Judges monitored the amount of energy the Solatrium drew from the "Solar Village" grid and how much it put back into the grid during the competition. The goal was to be energy neutral, producing enough energy from the 42 roof-mounted photovoltaic panels — producing 30.2 kilowatt hours per day — to operate the house.

The Solatrium was the only solar house built in the U.S. and transported to China for reconstruction. All other U.S., and most of the international teams, built their houses in China with local partner universities. The Solatrium had close to 3,000 visitors each day that it was open to the public. Some visitors waited in line for hours to view the house and enjoy its unique architecture and open living space.

Features of the Solatrium include glass windows coated with a glaze that moderates light and radiation levels, an airy, sun-filled atrium to provide passive lighting and ventilation, and lightweight, composite wall panels with an insulation core, providing both structural integrity and a thermal barrier.

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