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We have arrived

October 15, 2009
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I’m not sure if the silence on the bus was due to the boiling questions in eager minds or exhaustion from a week of reviews and exams. But we hit the road at 11pm and slowly fell asleep to a movie. Then the morning came and we stumbled into the hotel to retreat til we recovered.

Day One @ Solar Decathlon 2009. The light slow drizzle with a cold biting breeze wasn’t a halt nor a joy. We all split to tackle a varety of questions to our assigned teams. Teams of three approached each house to disect each project.

We took our time asking what systems each project was using. From simple to a fully integrated machine, notes were taken of what worked and failed. Most importantly teams learned how to ask questions. What questions were important and how we can use these projects as a platform in essences is to improve and push forward University of Tennessee’s Solar Decathlon proposal. UT Zero is a research platform for accelerating the work done across departments.

Let’s find some way to break barriers and develop something new by looking at a real world model. The Solar Decathlon itself is a generator. Making connections to the industry and departments. Ask how can we push both technology and the emotion of a home to the level of a managable Southeastern prototype.

Currently very excited

October 2, 2009
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So a few things.

The Solar Panels are going up. The shading system is also being placed on the structure for the PVs. The shading and pvs really effect the look and thermal effects on our prototype. On the front, the wintergarden is shaded in the summer at brunch through the afternoon.

The big news for UTZero is that we are headed to Washington D.C October 14-18 with 50 students in architecture, engineering and interior design! I would hope you know the reason for this trip. 2009 Solar Decathlon hosted by the US Department of Energy is happening on the Mall over the next two weeks. We are really excited seeing the teams that have been working and designing for the last two years. We are coming with questions, encouragement, and eagerness to start our own. University of Tennessee is setting up a framework to enter this year for the contest in 2011.

They work in the rain

September 19, 2009
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This past few weeks the fall construction class has been detailing and working on so many different tasks. So there is no clear visible progress, but I can tell you the details they’ve been working out are very important. Notice it’s uncovered besides the door frame. It’s been rained on and thus tested structurally under the elements.

The teams have been meeting in spotted sessions throughout the weeks. They work for long periods of time from the roof to interiors to the deck. The racking team is double checking all of the connections in prep for the pv panels. The decking team is frabricating the handrail with help from of our friend the Woman of Steel. The mechanical and engineering teams have been making progress too! We are so happy they are looking at what is the available construction. This is important so that future design is catering more holistic and inventive desisions. Thanks guys.

Groups of us have been hanging out next to our prototype to answer questions on in town game days. Come by and visit us.

I agree. Its football season. Lets get to work.

September 4, 2009
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I think that the wait is over. We have revealed the beast for the world to see and weather to work with us. After unveiling the prototype from benieth it’s many tarps, we are flashing and installing the last of our glass.

A month has gone by since the end of the class. We continued to work and do what we could. First we fixed to both secure structure and set the visitor’s mind at rest from our perfectly fine floating front edge. We placed another steel beam along the front where a majority of the circulation will be.

This semester we have three or more classes working towards projects to inform the Solar Decathlon. UT Zero is a research institute to document and to help organize the goals of gaining UT acceptance into this competition.

We need friends of all disciplines to pay close attention to what is to come. You will know what we are upto in time.

Important Note: This current project is not a Solar Decathlon Entry!!! UT Zero Energy House is a research prototype to investigate possible construction types, efficient mechanical and electrical engineering, and yearly monitoring to inform the competition. This fall UT and the team leaders will be sending a request for proposal to the Department of Energy’s competition.

UT Zero will still exist if UT does not get accepted into this 2011contest. We will continue to help organize multiple disciplinary student lead projects. We will still be investigating new ways to allow students to have design/build studios. We have so much more in store.

UTZEH = University of Tennessee Net Zero Energy House

Net Zero = What you consume, you produced!

A Week Flew By

August 5, 2009
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We took our box as far as we could, currently wrapped in tarps, hidden from the world (“the beast” from The Sandlot). The prototype has gone through all types of weather. From hail to international feet to rocking the roof, we have seen our test box last.

While somewhat surviving the rain, we continue with the interiors. Electrical team picked up a friend, Dave, to look over shoulders.

The glass was a great heart felt joy.

Another Day with the Media

July 28, 2009
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The teams are all over the campus today. The decking team cutting aluminum and double checking live loads walking on the ramp. The roof team is waterproofing the sloped roof. The electical/lighting team is wiring and organizing the power for lighting and air handling. The interiors team picking materials and running to material libraries at two local Knoxville firms.

So today we were the perfect candate for Local Knoxville WATE News to drop by and interview us. http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?S=10807701. But the rain decided to fall. We still talked and worked. Check us out tonight on channel 6 news at 11pm. Goodnight I’m tired. Headed to Barleys with the Finnish Interior Lighting Studio Team.

A Day of Fins

July 27, 2009
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A morning filled with collaboration! Last Friday our friends arrived from Finland. The light and space academy is ready to start building with us. They have brought an interior lighting design to develop in our prototype. We hope that we absorb all we can from this well qualified group.

We have been assembling the aluminum angles for our store front system. The decking team (Amanda) is working on the layouts.

Assembling the facade is high on the list. And getting the water to stay off the roof, no big deal.

We always take time to brief each other on current investigations and problems. Construction involves infield corrections. Aluminum is slightly harder to fix.

We are having a blast. Rain is projected all week. James Rose is now in Finland helping teach a course.