Season 1: Solar Decathlon 2013

We hope you enjoy our series premier of Watt Trekker featuring the students and solar homes of the 2013 Solar Decathlon.

Click on the thumbnails below to watch individual episodes.

IntroWTep1-150x150Introduction to the 2013 Solar Decathlon
Hosts: Jannike and Pauline Allen
thumbThe College-based Solar Home Competition comes to California in October 2013
1WTep1-150x150Ethics and the Santa Clara Solar House
Students: Beth Avon (Civil Engineering), Jack Gallau (Mechanical Engineering), Missy Georgie (Sociology, Spanish Studies), Brian Grau
School: Santa Clara University
SCU Radiant House site
Learn about Ethics in Engineering as we visit the Santa Clara University team as they discuss several design considerations for their 2013 Solar Decathlon home design. Filmed in February 2013 prior to the competition.
2WTep1-150x150Stanford Joins Quest for Innovative Housing
Student names: Derek Ouyang (Architectural Design, Civil Engineering), Brandon (Structural Engineering)
School: Stanford University
thumbJoining the Solar Decathlon for the 1st time, Stanford University students share plans for their house design and the upcoming competition. Filmed in February 2013 during the design phase of the competition.
3WTep1-150x150Using Sustainable Materials at the “InSite” House - Middlebury College
Student name: Ari Lattanzi (Latin American Studies, Political Science, Global Studies)
School: Middlebury College, Vermont

thumbAs the Solar Decathlon begins in Irvine, CA, Watt Trekker visits with Ari Lattanzi, a student with the “InSite” home from Middlebury College (Vermont), to learn about use of Sustainable Materials in their home’s design. Themes include use of recycled content, using local resources, enhancing community, reusing materials (eg. barn). Ari’s role is as solar engineer and she was also involved with the materials portion of the project.
4WTep1-150x150Sustainable Landscape Design at ‘Harvest’ House – Team Capitol DC
Student name: Julie Melear and Janet Conroy (Sustainable Landscape Design)
School: George Washington University
thumbIn this Watt Trekker episode, we explore Sustainable Landscape Design at ‘Harvest’ House of Team Capitol DC. Julie Melear and Janet Conroy both have masters degrees in Sustainable Landscape Design from George Washington University, and were the team leads in designing the landscape for the ‘Harvest’ home. Themes include edible garden, organic, water runoff, native plants. The ‘Harvest’ home will be donated to a veteran in partnership with the Wounded Warriors foundation, after the competition.
5WTep1-150x150Passive Solar Design with a Unique External Louver System – Team Capitol DC
Student name: Jeremy Haak (Architecture)
School: George Washington University
thumbIn this episode, Watt Trekker visits with Jeremy Haak, an architecture student with Team Capitol DC, to learn about Passive Solar Design and a unique external louver system that incorporates Shape Memory Alloy metal wire system to passively open and close the louver system as needed. When the louver heats up it closes, shading the window and keeping the house cool. When it cools down, the louver opens letting in sunlight to warm the space. This all happens without any electrical input.
6WTep1-150x150Innovative Design from Dale, the SciARC-CalTech House
Student name: Ella Seal (Mechanical Engineering)
School: Cal Tech
thumbIn this Watt Trekker episode, we visit with Ella Seal, a Mechanical Engineering student at Cal Tech, to learn about their innovation house design on rails. The SciARC (architecture) and CalTech (engineering) collaboration again strives to design and build a never-been-done-before home.
The home optimizes space by allowing moving partitions and moving house sections to adjust to the needs of the occupant. Themes include engineering, collaboration, innovation, space-saving strategies, passive solar design.
7WTep1-150x150Affordability from DeltaT90, the Norwich University House
Student name: Douglas Nelson (Architecture)
School: Norwich University
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Douglas Nelson, an architecture student at Norwich University working on the Delta T90 house. We learn about their efforts to design and build an affordable solar home for Vermont families. They’ve teamed with a modular home builder such that the home is featured in the company catalog and is for sale. Themes include: affordability, passive solar design, local use of materials, architecture.
8WTep1-150x150Photovoltaics from Chameleon, the Missouri S & T House
Student name: Eric Mullis (Computer Engineering, Economics)
School: Missouri Science & Technology
thumbIn the episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Eric Mullis, a computer engineering and economics student from Missouri Science & Technology to learn about a unique Photovoltaic application on their Solar Home “Chameleon”. Themes include photovoltaics, bifacial solar modules, reflecting light to boost efficiency.
9WTep1-150x150Daylighting at ‘fluxHome’ from USC
Student name: Justin Kang (Architecture)
School: University of Southern California
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Justin Kang, an architecture student at University of Southern California, to learn about the daylighting and lighting features of their solar home, aka “fluxHome”. Themes include daylighting, skylights, automatic shade control, light colors, energy savings, architecture.
10WTep1-150x150Home Automation & Raspberry Pi at Radiant House
Student name: Richard Dobbins (Electrical Engineering)
School: Santa Clara University
SCU Radiant House site
In this episode of Watt Trekker, we meet with Richard Dobbins, an Electrical Engineering student at Santa Clara University. We learn about the use of a Raspberry Pi computer and Arduino microprocessors used in designing the home automation and controls system. Themes include diy computers, raspberry pi, home automation, controls, electrical engineering, robotics.
11WTep1-150x150Water Conservation at DesertSol
Student name: Paul Fjare (Mechanical Engineering)
School: University of Nevada Las Vegas
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Paul Fjare, a Mechanical Engineering student from University of Nevada Las Vegas, who worked on the water systems of their solar home, aka “DesertSol”. Themes include: rainwater, greywater, water smart appliances, dual flush toilet. [Note that it rained the day after we interviewed Paul and we were able to see the rainwater in action, which is included in this episode]
12WTep1-150x150Architecture at LISI from Team Austria
Student name: Philipp Klebert, Mechanical Engineering
School: Vienna University of Technology
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Philipp Klebert, a mechanical engineering student at the Vienna University of Technology, to learn about the architecture features of their solar home called “LISI”. Themes include architecture, use of wood, indoor outdoor space, custom furniture, and the design process.
13WTep1-150x150The CORE at Stanford Start.Home
Student name: Collin Lee (Electrical Engineering)
School: Stanford University
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Collin Lee, an electrical engineering student at Stanford University, who describes the ‘Core’ concept integrated into their solar home aka Start.Home. All the heating/cooling, plumbing & power functions are incorporated into the Core for ease in prefabricating and applying to any house. Collin also worked on the computerized control systems of the house, and demonstrates several of these features. Themes include: prefabbed core unit, energy responsive art, color based energy feedback switches, controls, clerestories, and more.
14WTep1-150x150Social Responsibility at Phoenix House – Team Kentuckiana
Student name: Kelsey King (Mechanical Engineering)
School: University of Louisville (part of Team Kentuckiana)
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Kelsey King, a mechanical engineering student from University of Louisville (part of Team Kentuckiana), to learn about the Socially Responsive design features of their solar home, aka The Phoenix House. The home’s bathroom doubles as a Safe Room for tornado situations. A key design feature was for their home to be assembled quickly for disaster relief. Themes include: emergency preparedness, tornadoes, safe room, disaster relief, self-sustainability.
15WTep1-150x150Communications and Graphic Design @ EcoHabit
Student name: Zak Moy (Visual Arts & Technology)
School: Stevens Institute of Technology
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Zak Moy, a Visual Arts & Technology student from the Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Communications Lead for their Solar Decathlon solar home, aka EcoHabit. Zak explains the challenges of translating complex engineering & building science concepts into ways that can be better understood by the public, through use of websites, video, models, news releases, and graphic design. Themes include: communications, visual arts, graphic design, modeling, branding, and technology.
16WTep1-150x150Teaching Others @ Borealis – Team Alberta
Student name: Alexandre Ste-Marie (Business)
School: University of Calgary
thumbIn this episode of Watt Trekker, we met with Alexandre Ste-Marie, a business major at University of Calgary and project manager for the Team Alberta solar home (aka Borealis), to learn about the importance of teaching others. The team used social media, public presentations at local events, k12 school presentations, and a cut-out model of their home to effectively teach others about their solar home and sustainability. Themes include: community outreach, k12 school presentations, model solar home template, social media, sustainability.


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