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Team New Jersey to make precast concrete solar house reality

Construction of ENJOY: A Generation House, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 entry from Team New Jersey, a collaborative effort of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has begun following a recent ground-breaking at NJIT. Once construction of the house is complete, Team NJ will hold an official topping-off event at NJIT with major sponsors and VIP guests. Work will continue at NJIT throughout the summer with the students performing tests to ensure all systems work properly.

In September, the house will be de-constructed, loaded onto trucks, and shipped to the competition site on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Upon arrival, the team will aim for a two-day reconstruction timeline before adding finishing touches.

Once completed, the ENJOY House will be ready to accommodate the thousands of visitors who will be touring the house during public display hours from Sept. 23 Oct. 2, 2011.

The ENJOY House is designed around a central core containing integrated systems. It is the first house in the competition's history to use precast concrete panels as the primary construction material. ENJOY, a beach-inspired house, will feature an inverted-hip roof design for rainwater collection to support irrigation and grey water systems, an 8.2kW photovoltaic system that will allow the house to be completely powered by the sun, and the application of universal design principles, which will allow the house to be accessible to people of all ages and levels of mobility.

An interdisciplinary project, Team NJ is composed of architecture and industrial design students from NJIT's College of Architecture and Design and engineering, landscape architecture, planning, and computer science students from Rutgers University. Students regularly attend meetings with professionals in the field and take classes that focus on specific aspects of the design, such as a class on green building at Rutgers University, the NJIT Solar Design Studio and System's Interface Studio, along with several classes offered in the landscape architecture school and engineering school.

"I decided to become a part of Team NJ because it is a wonderful opportunity to gain valuable real world experience that most graduates entering the workforce will not get," said Jennifer Switala, student leader of Team NJ at NJIT. "Being a part of Team NJ has allowed me to explore and creatively solve sustainable issues currently facing the housing industry."

Melanie Davidson, student leader of Team NJ at Rutgers University considers the long hours spent working on the ENJOY House to have been well worth the effort. "I believe that energy independence and global warming are two of the biggest issues facing my generation, so I was thrilled to find there was a project on campus devoted to promoting solar energy," Davidson said. "Programs like the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is how real, meaningful change is accomplished. I am so proud to be involved with this team, and have learned an unbelievable amount in the process, about teamwork, efficient design, and organization."

Industry partners are an important part of Team NJ, donating their time to work with students and making ENJOY's innovative design a reality by supplying in-kind materials for the construction of the house, covering costs of designing and shipping the house, and providing valuable internships to students.


Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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