The University of Illinois Solar Decathlon team (Team Illinois) is designing an energy-efficient sustainable house adaptable to user requirements. The modular home is capable of attaching and detaching to units, while also sporting multi-functional furniture. These capabilities allow the inhabitant to design their home based on their need while allowing for both upscaling and downscaling. The house will be in strict accordance with ADA regulations and includes a variety of low-maintenance components to accommodate aging populations. There is excitement surrounding the organization΄s willingness to re-imagine how people live at various stages of life. Several professors from the Grainger College of Engineering and Architecture have guided the team to develop this idea.
Illinois Solar Decathlon students, shown below, have the opportunity to receive credit for their contributions. ABE 498 is a design course offered by Professor Xinlei Wang of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department for both engineers and non-engineers. A project manager serves as the teaching assistant to coordinate the course. In Fall 2019, 41 students were enrolled in the course, and this Spring 2020, 18 students are enrolled.
In Fall 2019, Team Illinois submitted D4 Deliverable: 95% of construction drawings and project specifications. The design was approved by licensed structural engineer Bill Bash, Principal of Thornton Tomasetti. We have established a not-for-profit organization, SolHomes, Inc., which would own the house. Currently, we intend to donate the house to Habitat for Humanity after the competition. Students participating in construction activities were provided OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 construction training. In Spring 2020, Team Illinois submitted D5 Deliverable: 100% construction documented. Students are working on presentations for juried contests. The timeline (before COVID19): April – Skender, our modules manufacturer, starts building two modules in their factory in Chicago; First week of May – the first module is delivered to Champaign; First week of June – local building performance tests conducted; Third week of June – second module is shipped to Washington DC and showcased at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; Second week of July – second module is shipped to Champaign; End of July – house is fully constructed.