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University Of Virginia Donates Solar Decathlon House To Piedmont Housing Alliance

March 17, 2005 --

The University of Virginia’s award-winning solar house, which competed in the 2002 Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C., is being donated to Piedmont Housing Alliance, a Charlottesville non-profit housing organization. PHA will eventually sell the house to raise funds for their low-income housing programs.

The solar-powered house uses sophisticated renewable energy systems, and integrates building materials that maximize energy efficiency, while minimizing the impact to the environment.  The house was designed and built by U.Va. students and was moved temporarily to the National Mall in Washington for the Department of Energy-sponsored decathlon event in September 2002. The house won 1st place for architecture in the first-ever national competition, and 2nd place overall. Students from the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering and Applied Science made up the team on the experimental house.

Assistant Professor John Quale of the School of Architecture and Professor Paxton Marshall of the School of Engineering and Applied Science advised the U.Va. Solar Decathlon team over the course of the two-year project. Former engineering research scientist Dan Pearce also advised the group.

"We have been searching for the right place for the Solar Decathlon house since the competition, and this is the best possible situation.  It allows the University to show its support for the important work of PHA, while making sure the house will eventually have a permanent home," Quale said.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to continue our successful partnership with the U.Va. School of Architecture. The Solar House donation symbolizes our mutual values in harvesting new technologies that produce sustainable building models for the future,” said Stu Armstrong, executive director of Piedmont Housing Alliance.

Details of the sale of the house by PHA have not been determined, but it is likely the sale will occur during the late spring or summer. PHA will seek potential buyers interested in using the house as intended – as a small home or guest house. The 750 square-foot home includes a living room, dining area, kitchenette, home office space, bathroom, bedroom and sunspace. The eventual owner will be required to move the home to its final location, using the services of a house-moving firm.

Currently, the School of Architecture is partnering with PHA on a new project to create low income, sustainable houses for the Charlottesville area. Called ecoMOD, the multi-year research and design / build project is focused on the creation of ecological and modular house prototypes. The first ecoMOD house will be built off-site this summer by students as separate modules, and assembled on a permanent site in the Charlottesville Fifeville neighborhood. Quale founded and directs the ecoMOD project.

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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