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Potomac Students Assist Winning UMD Solar Decathlon Team

Oct 10, 2011

Nine students from The Potomac School collaborated with the winning University of Maryland team to create their “WaterShed” sustainable home for the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011. The team’s first-place entry, judged the best of 19 homes, was inspired by the Chesapeake Bay and demonstrates a method of simultaneously building sustainable housing and conserving the watershed ecosystem. The home harvests, recycles, and reuses water, and has the unique ability to not only conserve but also produce resources with the water it conserves.

The Potomac students contributed to the construction process this summer by preparing wood siding and decking, installing wiring for the home’s mechanical systems, and constructing wetlands and the home’s green roof. Senior McKenzie Klein assisted two UMD students in developing a critical component of their system for removing humidity from the home, which advances patent-pending technology designed by the 2007 UMD Solar Decathlon team.

The biennial Solar Decathlon challenges student teams from 20 universities around the world to design and build solar-powered houses that boast affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence together with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. After a two-year design and build process, each team reassembles its home in Washington’s West Potomac Park for public display, this year from September 23 to October 2. The teams compete in 10 competition events in various areas, including architecture, engineering, and affordability, and a winner for each contest is determined. The team with the highest overall score at the end of 10 days is judged the overall winner.