The Direct Energy and University of Houston Energy Efficiency Innovation Challenge is in full swing. To recap from our October 2nd post announcing this competition, teams of students are collaborating to create a plan for an energy efficient house that can be built for $80, 000 and with energy bills under $25 a month.
Many folks from the Direct Energy home offices in Houston attended the first presentations from the teams last week, and the results are impressive! Eleven teams representing a diverse group of students ranging from Political Science majors to Graduate-level Architect students presented their designs.
A panel of expert judges, two architects and a communications professional, critiqued the presentations. The judges were looking for feasible design plans and the ability to describe your vision to a group in a clear and engaging manner.
Many of the student groups explored solar rooftop arrays, rain water collection, and a wide variety of building materials and methods to offset energy usage and make the home as sustainable as possible. Several of the groups also dove into the community where the site resided – the 3rd Ward in Houston, TX – to make sure that the look and feel of the home fit the neighborhood and reflected the historic nature of the surrounding houses. Students also showed their commitment to health and safety, as a handful of the groups talked about the safety features of the various building materials they proposed using.
At the next presentation on Nov 20th, 2015, the students will present their equipment selections to a different panel of experts to determine an idea of the cost and feasibility of some of the proposed ideas. We will keep you up to date with developments as the competition moves along. We can confidentially say right now – Expect big things!