Our team at one of our weekly meetings
We are Berkeley’s Solar Decathlon team! The Solar Decathlon is an international competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy where student teams design, fund, and build solar powered, net-positive energy buildings that push the boundaries of sustainable living in the world.
We are a diverse and multidisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students with backgrounds ranging from design, engineering, and architecture, to business and data science. Yet, we all share the common goal of creating solutions to environmental concerns and addressing issues of affordability and the rapid and damaging effects of climate change.
Our projects are centered on mitigating climate change, primarily focusing on the efficient use of resources, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and alleviating rampant environmental injustice and inequity. We aim to not only implement these environmentally and economically sustainable housing alternatives, but to also foster creativity, educational opportunities, professional experience, and radically progressive thinking. Our current project will combine all of these aspirations to create a design that will help the Santa Rosa community bounce back from a devastating fire and that will serve as an example of material, design, and community resilience.
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In addition, this project represents an opportunity for students to learn about sustainability through hands-on experience to supplement the technical knowledge learned in school.
Our holistic, innovative, and empathetic approach to the competition will inspire new ways of thinking about housing solutions that will be applicable not just in Santa Rosa but across many other places impacted by wildfires up and down the West Coast. We have been preparing for this project for over a year now and have gathered quite a bit of support: we have gathered new insights from UC Berkeley faculty research, connected with community organizations with similar values; we have a team of dedicated students that will ensure the success of our project in this competition, and we have you!
Donations will directly help us to cover the material, equipment, and permitting costs associated with building our home in Berkeley. Donors will have pride knowing they contributed to both a valuable experience for Berkeley students and projects that will ultimately benefit the local community. Please consider making a contribution to our Solar Decathlon Team!
A rendering from one of our past Solar Decathlon projects in 2017
Our team is currently working on designing a mixed-use multifamily building for the 2021 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge competition. In light of the recent uptick in serious California fires, we decided to focus our design around helping those displaced by fires in the Santa Rosa community just North of Berkeley. Worsening fires impacted many of our members in the past year, and we all wanted to work on a project that is closely connected to our community here in the Bay Area.
Our design aims to provide temporary housing and community gathering spaces for those displaced by the most recent fire in Santa Rosa, the 2017 Tubbs fire. We hope to create a project that will help the Santa Rosa community bounce back from this devastating fire and that will serve as an example of material, design, and community resilience in the form of a mixed-use residential building.
Please consider making a contribution to our Solar Decathlon Team by making a tax-deductible donation.
We are now in the design development phase of the project-- our members have conducted in-depth design, engineering, and policy research, and we are ready to begin putting these elements together to create a cohesive design. Our team’s approach to design also includes conducting community interviews to gain a better understanding of the community’s needs and culture. Finally, because the end goal is to design a net zero energy building, we are undertaking extensive climate and site analysis so that our design can most effectively make use of building science concepts such as daylighting and natural ventilation methods.
Though none of our team members have worked at this scale of building before, we are all extremely excited to learn about the rewards and challenges that come with designing a larger building!
After the Design Challenge ends in April, we will shift our focus towards the 2023 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge, where we will be designing and building a net zero energy home right here in Berkeley!
Our budget will be split between the two Solar Decathlon competitions we are participating in (the Design Challenge and the Build Challenge), with the majority of money and resources going towards the Build Challenge.
While the Build Challenge will be far more costly, our team will need to devote part of our budget to costs associated with the Design Challenge, which include the following:
The Build Challenge will require a significant input of money and resources, a portion of which we hope to acquire through this crowdfunding campaign. While we don’t have an exact set of materials at this time, we can anticipate many of our building and construction needs based on our understanding of the competition. Several of our budgetary needs will also be similar to those of the design competition. The following cover our currently anticipated needs:
Travel Costs (5%)
Model-making materials (4%)
Access to software (5%)
Promotional materials (5%)
Competition fees (1%)
Land/permit costs (10%)
Material costs (35%)
Tools, Machinery, and other Equipment (25%)
Professional construction help (10%)
For more information, please visit our website at https://shac.berkeley.edu/solardecathlon/ or email us at email@example.com