Three Hawaii high school graduates were part of a Cornell University team that designed, built and operated a unique environmentally friendly home entered in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that brings 20 college and university teams to the nation’s capitol for a competition to create the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house.
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka visited the students and toured the home, which was transported from Ithaca, N.Y. and placed on the National Mall for the duration of the contest.
“What these bright minds have created is quite impressive,” Akaka said. “Despite some cloudy and rainy days, the house produced more energy than it consumed and demonstrated how, by giving back electricity to their utility, homeowners can turn back their electricity meters and reduce their energy bills. As it is important that consumers recognize the value and comfort of clean energy homes, I am particularly pleased with these students’ success in the communications and home entertainment contests. I encouraged them to continue their work towards a sustainable energy future for our country.”
Sean Tamon (Cornell ‘11) of Kaneohe graduated from James B. Castle High School in 2006, Kelly Chess (Cornell ‘11) of Kailua-Kona graduated from Kealakehe High School in 2007, and Mariko Fujio-White (Cornell ‘12) of Kailua-Kona graduated from Hawaii Preparatory Academy in 2008.
All three are students in Cornell’s prestigious School of Hotel Administration and joined several dozen other current Cornell students on the team.
Cornell’s entry was called the Silo House, made of three cylindrical modules of a kitchen, living room, and bedroom, connected in a single structure surrounding a courtyard.
The cylindrical shapes evoke the grain silos that dot the rolling hills of upstate New York where Cornell is located. The exterior is covered with a corrugated steel that acts as a weather barrier.
Environmental features include solar panels, evacuated-tube solar water heating system, soy-based foam insulation, ENERGY STAR appliances, and a newly designed low energy HDTV.
Mariko and Kelly participated in the communications contest and worked to best relay to the public the advantages of the home, which was open to tours on the National Mall.
Sean and Kelly also participated in the home entertainment contest in which they prepared menus created by Sean, a 2008 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.
“The two menus I’ve created for the competition feature not only local farmers, but also energy efficient cooking techniques to show that cooking responsibly can also taste great,” said Sean.
When the judges final scores were tabulated, Cornell’s house came in 7th out of 20 entries with high scores in communications (2nd tie), home entertainment (6th), hot water heating (6th), and market viability (9th).
Team Germany won the competition.
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