Students from Alfred State designed, built, and operated a solar-powered home for the 2013 Solar Decathlon in China.
From July 15 - Aug. 18, 2013, students from, Alfred State, Alfred University, and Guilin University of Technology in China (dubbed Team Alfred), came together in Datong, China, to build a home of the future—one that showcases some of the biggest innovations in renewable energy and sustainable design.
“It has been a life changing experience, full of challenges,” says Jacob Grisewood, of Belmont, NY. A 2013 graduate of Alfred State’s building construction program  currently pursuing a technology management degree , he and two other Alfred State students made the trip to China to compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon China  not only for the experience of building the home, but of being immersed in collaborative working environment with other cultures. “It has given me the opportunity to learn on an international level,” Jacob says.
Team Alfred designed their home to go beyond what previous decathlon homes had done, combining cutting-edge engineering with traditional Chinese architecture, and they succeeded, walking away with a first-place award in energy balance and an incredible hands-on work experience. “This project was a big step in the right direction,” Jacob says. “I hope that it will inspire people to integrate renewable energy sources into their everyday lives.”
More than 20 other teams representing colleges and universities in 13 countries gathered for the competition in Datong, striving to create the most energy-efficient, aesthetic, affordable solar-powered homes imaginable. The competition, co-hosted by the China National Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy, was designed to create tangible, fully functioning demonstration homes in an effort to show the world the power of solar-driven energy efficiency. Students had to design, construct, and oversee operation of a concept solar-powered home utilizing current technologies, and they had to do it all while working as a team. “I’m very thankful for this amazing opportunity that Alfred State has given me,” Jacob says. “They have invested in me as a person and I feel honored having been a part of it.”
Join the discussion on solar energy and design at Team Alfred’s Facebook page .