Pan Canadian Team North selected to compete in the 2009 Solar Decathlon

    University Researchers and Students Working in Collaboration with
    Industry Partners expect to deliver Innovation to the Bi-Annual
    International Competition with their NORTH HOUSE Proposal

    WATERLOO, ON, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Team North, a pan-Canadian team of faculty
and students from the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Engineering and
School of Architecture, Ryerson University's Faculty of Engineering
Architecture and Science and Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive
Arts and Technology (SIAT) has been selected to participate in the prestigious
the 2009 Solar Decathlon competition. Twenty university teams are chosen to
compete to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy efficient
entirely solar powered home. TEAM NORTH is the first collaboration of the
three Universities on a proposal of this kind. The team's concept for the
house, called NORTH HOUSE, is a holistic, responsive and flexible strategy for
solar living in the diverse territory and extreme climates of northern
    The Solar Decathlon is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It seeks to
foster development and facilitate widespread adoption of solar-powered homes
that demonstrate solar technologies in marketable applications, through
technology research and development and key partnerships. The 2009 event will
be the fourth Solar Decathlon (previous competitions were held in 2007, 2005
and 2002). Teams will be judged in 10 areas including architecture,
engineering, livability, marketability, comfort, power generation for space
heating and cooling, water heating, and powering lights and appliances.
    The Solar Decathlon is also a public event designed to increase awareness
of energy for residential use and transportation. The prototype homes will be
installed in a "Solar Village" on the National Mall in Washington DC where
visitors can tour the homes to learn about design and construction techniques.
The past three events have attracted more than 250,000 visitors to the
National Mall. After the competition in Washington DC, NORTH HOUSE is expected
to be on display at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. It will then become
part of a permanent public display at the Kortright Living City Centre outside
of Toronto.
    The NORTH HOUSE will engage undergraduate and graduate students working
in collaboration with leading faculty members at all three institutions. The
project will build upon ongoing innovation in sustainable off grid housing and
responsive envelope technology at the UW Faculty of Engineering's School of
Architecture, and in photovoltaic thermal solar and integral blind systems
within Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. It will draw upon work in Net
Zero Design and Energy Modeling and Analysis and will provide a focus for the
new graduate program in Building Science at Ryerson University's Faculty of
Engineering Architecture and Science. New systems of Integrated Interface that
deploy mobile and ubiquitous computing utilizing hand-held technologies will
be developed with SFU's SIAT team. The prototype house will employ two key
strategies developed by the team: "Holistic Solar" - an approach to making
buildings and living within them that incorporates the energy and benefits of
the sun in all ways possible; and "Haptic Solar" - Making Sustainable Action
    Rick Haldenby, O'Donovan Director of the University of Waterloo's School
of Architecture reflected - "Being in the final of the Solar Decathlon not
only gives the opportunity for a team of extremely talented and dedicated
Canadians to complete against the best in the world in the field of design,
but also provides the impetus to explore a new generation of environmental
architecture." UW Architecture graduate student and team member Natalie
Jackson added; "This is a fantastic opportunity for students to advance
research agendas associated with sustainability while benefiting from the
frictions of realizing the project as a built work".
    Following the announcement, Dr. Robert Woodbury, Scientific Director of
the Canadian Design Research Network (CDRN), one of the team's key
institutional partners commented: "Team North brings three special schools to
the challenge of a house for Canada's future. Waterloo, SFU and Ryerson
together have the expertise needed to inspire imagination by design, to ensure
sound engineering and construction and to communicate the ideas of sustainable
living to the world. I am equally sure that the house will be extraordinary
and that the schools will learn much from each other. This is collaboration at
its best."
    The key to the innovation, research and development of "Haptic Solar"
will be the development of an Adaptive Living Interface that will make
sustainability personal and physical by developing ways that people can
measure sustainability with their own bodies. The current intention is to
develop the interface through the device of the cellular phone. Occupants will
be able to interact with the technologies and systems of the home and to
assist them in making informed decisions about energy use by providing
feedback on the energy state of the home. Interface devices and ambient cues
will communicate the house's performance over time, provide integrated
controls to all building systems, and living patterns by modeling occupant
routines so that the building can adapt its energy use patterns to its use.
The phone could become an interactive container of the energy use of the house
that will connect the occupant its systems of the house while both at home and
    This is just one example of vanguard research and technology that the
team hopes to develop for the NORTH HOUSE. In order to achieve these goals,
and to transport the component-based home to Washington DC, the team will have
to raise over $1,000,000. Acceptance to the highly competitive list of 20
finalists guarantees up to $100,000 from the DOE. All three universities have
pledged $15,000 each in seed funding, and $30,000 has been received from the
CDRN to support the bid and start-up activities. All 20 teams chosen to enter
the 2009 competition are expected to be posted to the Solar Decathlon website
( by the end of this week.
    "It's rare that students have the opportunity to be involved in a project
of this magnitude - collaborating with institutions across the country,
working on the cutting edge of sustainable design and manufacturing, and
addressing the changing needs of Canada's northern regions. I'm thrilled!",
stated Lauren Barhydt, Master's Candidate at UW Architecture and student team
    "This will be the fourth Solar Decathlon event run by the DOE, and from
our perspective, it demands a response that goes way beyond first principles
of sustainability - the project must generate cutting edge research that
responds to a significant and very real set of environmental issues, and
advances the state of the art with respect to both solar technologies and a
beautiful piece of architecture that integrates these systems. Deep thinking
at both the conceptual and technical level went into our proposal preparation.
Team North has complimentary and committed team members - and we at Waterloo
are really looking forward to this interdisciplinary student - faculty
collaboration.", added Prof. Geoffrey Thun, Lead Faculty Advisor at UW.
    Dr. Michael Collins of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at UW
added " Becoming a finalist team is a tremendous success, and an ideal project
to test and develop further a range of innovative technologies being developed
in Canada".
    Dr. Mark Gorgolewski, Associate Professor at Ryerson's Department of
Architectural Science said today, "The Solar Decathlon is a tremendous
opportunity for us at Ryerson University to participate in a major
collaborative project with international exposure. Students at Ryerson
including those in the new building science graduate program will have the
opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams and apply their knowledge of
detailed analysis tools such as energy modeling, life cycle assessment and
building envelope studies to refine the performance of the proposed building.
This is also a great opportunity for collaboration between three complementary
    Working with its accomplished team of students and researchers paired
with support from key industry partners, Team North expects to deliver
innovation and excitement to the Washington Mall in 2009.

For further information:

For further information: on the project and images of the preliminary
design of NORTH HOUSE contact: FACULTY CONTACT, Geoffrey Thun, MUD, B.Arch,
BES, BA(Soc), MRAIC, LEED(TM) AP, Assistant Professor University of Waterloo,
School of Architecture, Partner, RVTR, North House Faculty Coordinator, V
(416) 219-5255, T (416) 987-1231, E; STUDENT TEAM
CONTACT, Lauren Bardhyt, BAS, M.Arch Candidate, University of Waterloo, School
of Architecture, North House Student Team Coordinator, E; DIRECTOR UW SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, Eric Haldenby,
FRAIC, O'Donovan Director, University of Waterloo, School of Architecture, 7
Melville Street South, Cambridge, ON, N1S 2H4, T (519) 888-4567 (84544), E

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