Team Ontario in the 2013 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entered the Solar Decathlon competition with a goal of creating waves of change in the housing industry, envisioning a future where net-zero homes are a scalable reality throughout Canada and all over the world. A group of Algonquin College, Carleton University, and Queen’s University students and employees designed and built a home (called Project ECHO), transported it down to Irvine, California, and reassembled it in time for the biennial competition, which began October 2.
Early results had Team Ontario in the middle of the pack, slightly behind fellow Canadian competitor Team Alberta. The team consoled themselves with a best-of-three street hockey miniseries against the University of Calgary group, defeating them two games to one. (photo)
With just two days to go in the competition, Team Ontario achieved some impressive results – second place in affordability, a tie for fourth in market appeal, a tie for first in hot water – and catapulted themselves into third place, just behind Team Stanford and Team Las Vegas.
The competition was still far from over at this point. Results came in for Communications, Architecture, and a few other categories, and Team Ontario gave up some ground. But just as other teams started to pull away, and with only minutes to go before the standings were finalized, Team Ontario pulled off a huge win in the highly coveted Engineering competition, their second award in the competition.
The moment of truth finally arrived right around noon California time on Saturday – Team Ontario placed sixth overall, marking one of the best ever showings by a Canadian team in the competition. It was also the top performance by a Canadian team in the 2013 competition, and the team was just a few points back of Ivy League competitor Stanford in what was one of the closest ever Solar Decathlon competitions.
“On behalf of all team members and all three partner institutions, thank you to all of our supporters who contributed tremendously to this great showing at the Solar Decathlon competition,” says Richard Briginshaw, Coordinator, Green Architecture and Faculty Representative on Team Ontario. “Team Ontario combined the technical knowledge and hands-on skills of Algonquin College students with the theoretical knowledge of Carleton and Queen’s University students, and this spectacular result shows what is possible when we work together.”
“We are thrilled to have done so well in the competition and furthered the cause of sustainable housing,” adds Jacob Morgan, Construction Manager, Team Ontario. “Participating in this competition has been a phenomenal experience and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to compete against the world’s best. Thanks to all those who supported us including our schools and sponsors.”
The final standings can be seen here.
Check out more photos from the competition on their Facebook page.