Letter to the Editor | Illinois Solar Decathlon showcases University Engineering


By Maxwell McWilliams

In the first few months of 2021, the students of UI’s Illinois Solar Decathlon will put their engineering and architectural skills to the test as their work culminates in the national Solar Decathlon competition. Having recently obtained a city permit and contractor agreement, the team must now manage its schedule and inventory to insure that construction is completed by the competition deadline.

This year’s competition will take place April 16-18, and will be held virtually from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Select teams from universities across the world will present their net-zero solar homes to the judges, who are experts in sustainable engineering, and to countless industry sponsors. Winning teams will be rewarded with cash prizes and incredible company recognition, if they can outscore their competition per each of the decathlon’s 10 contests: architecture, market potential, engineering, communications, innovation, water, health and comfort, appliances, home life and energy.

Coining the name “ADAPTHAUS,” the Illinois team’s project aims to combine all of the decathlon’s ideals to provide an inexpensive, adaptable home for young adults that allows for home expansion in accordance with growing demand for space. Located in Champaign, Illinois, the solar home “ADAPTHAUS” will be the culmination of many months of work for the engineers and architects of Illinois Solar Decathlon, and will be donated to Habitat for Humanity after the competition. Once construction is finished, students will showcase the home to the local community through tours and informational lectures on its design principles and sustainable technology, before virtually attending the conference in Colorado to present their work.

Stay tuned for more updates and tour information from Illinois Solar Decathlon.


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Maxwell is a sophomore in Engineering.