The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign team is comprised of students from a variety of fields. While the team is mostly architecture and engineering students, we also have landscape architects, business, and media students. The University of Illinois competed in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, where we received second place. The team’s success in 2009 sparked interest within the university to compete again in 2011. To see a list of team members and current construction pictures, visit Team Illinois’ website.
Team Illinois’ entry, Re_home, offered a new solution for disaster relief housing. Our model home’s design mixes efficient engineering, smart controls systems, and thoughtful architecture to serve the community and families in need after natural disasters. The two-module home was designed to be quickly transported and easily assembled in the event of natural disasters, such as tornadoes, common in our region of the U.S. Re_home serves as more than a shelter; it enables individual and community recovery through a socially- and environmentally-aware response.
Our home’s 7.2 kW solar array includes integrated photovoltaic, bi-facial shading panels along the front façade and 24 adjustable SunPower® E18 / 230 solar panels on the roof. The panels were shipped flat on the roof and were then adjusted to the correct angle on site. Team Illinois chose SunPower for the company’s highly efficient solar panels, which provide maximum energy output in a limited amount of roof space, while keeping the upfront cost of the home affordable.
Prior to the competition in Washington, D.C, Team Illinois provided tours to those interested in the home within the university and in the larger community. Re_home was a stop for many summer camps, enabling young people to learn about solar panels and sustainable design.
Re_home is innovative in its use of indoor and outdoor space. The home connects exterior deck areas to the main living areas of the home in order to provide more community gathering space and to extend the livable footprint of the home. To provide additional energy and to shade the main entrance and deck space, Re_home features solar panels along the south facade of the building.
Our model home placed 7th overall in the competition, and we received first place in the Appliances and Energy Balance categories. The students on Team Illinois had a great experience in Washington D.C. We were very impressed with all 19 homes at this year’s competition.