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NJIT and Chinese Tech Institute join forces for 2013 Solar Decathlon in China

NJIT and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) have formed Team NJHA to compete jointly in the Solar Decathlon China (SD China) competition to be held in Datong, China in August 2013. The selection of teams reflects the international nature of NJIT's program and introduces cross-border collaboration. Twenty-four teams were formed from 37 universities from 13 countries all over the world. NJIT students involved in the project are enrolled at NJIT's College of Architecture and Design.

The Nexus House is the submission of Team NJHA. SD China, an international award-winning program, challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered energy efficient houses. It is co-hosted by China National Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy and organized by Peking University.

Nexus House is a transitional home for families living in areas of China on the brink of rapid urbanization. By introducing up-to-date home technology and functionality while preserving an agrarian sensibility, the Nexus House represents the intersection of rural and urban. Each element of the house has been designed as a hub through which materials such as water, air, and power flow. These multi-functional elements represent original, innovative passive design solutions. The house respects the customs of rural Chinese family life while providing the advantages of smart, contemporary design.

"The students and I are tremendously excited about the competition and we feel our design, which we call Nexus House, is a great opportunity to showcase university talents on the world stage," said NJIT faculty advisor Richard Garber, associate professor and architect. "This past fall, our Chinese partners HIT sent us four students--three architects and a structural engineer--to work with our team. We have also enjoyed the support of the China National Building Materials group in Shanghai."

In 2011, COAD partnered with Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey to participate in the 2011 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC. Team NJ's entry, eNJoy: A Generation House, involved a two-plus year collaborative effort to design, build, and operate a solar-powered home that was cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. More than a dozen graduate and undergraduate students labored on it, some even returning after graduation to participate. Eighteen other built entries, hailing from as far away as New Zealand and China, competed in the futuristic display. Houses were scored on architecture; market appeal; engineering; communications; affordability; comfort zone; hot water; appliances; home entertainment; and energy balance.

The eNJoy house was designed around a central core structure which contained integrated heating, cooling and electrical systems. It was the first house in the competition's history to use precast concrete panels as the primary construction material for its energy-efficiency. "Concrete is cool in summer and can be heated efficiently and affordably in winter," said Garber.


Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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