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Breaking Ground on Canopy House

At an enthusiastic ceremony Wednesday morning, Team Tidewater Virginia - the joint Old Dominion University/Hampton University student group competing in the Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon - broke ground on its 2013 entry, Canopy House.

Among those attending the groundbreaking ceremony on the HU campus were U.S. Rep Bobby Scott and Richard King of the DOE, founder and director of the Solar Decathlon. King paid tribute to the 2011 entry by Team Tidewater in the biannual competition, Unit 6 Unplugged, which finished in 14th place.

In his remarks to the crowd of about 100, King noted how respectably Team Tidewater had competed in 2011. He said the team's 14th-place finish would have been higher if the house had met the energy generation threshold required during a cold, rainy week. "Your team was just under, and if you'd made it, you would have finished in seventh place," King said.

"Now that you're back, I'm sure the lessons you learned will make you a dark-horse competitor to win the entire competition."

The DOE Solar Decathlon tests university teams' efforts to design and build a net-zero energy home. Team Tidewater Virginia is one of 20 schools from around the world that will compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon finals in Irvine, Calif., from Oct. 3-13.

The Canopy House, inspired by the forest canopy, will feature a canopy that spreads above the home as the roof. The unique roof's solar panels will harness the power of the sun, both as an energy-efficient method for providing heat and electricity and as an integral foundation for the home's innovative technology.

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Published on: May 1, 2013