Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2009 Solar Decathlon - A Case Study

TEAM BeauSoliel - University of Louisiana at Lafayette

We are honored to have been selected by the new American Village as the Solar Decathlon 2009 team to be profiled in the weekly blog! As one of only two teams in the south (Rice being the other one) we feel as if we represent not only Louisiana but the Gulf states as a whole. It is our mission to design, build and demonstrate a new paradigm for living on the Gulf coast. The BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home will be a regional work of architecture (representing the culture and traditions of our region,) an energy hybrid (employing passive and active systems) and a marketable prototype (accessible to a median income family.)

I invite you to visit the solardecathlon.org website to learn more about the competition and view past Decathlon homes. But the project is so much more than the competition. First and foremost, our student TEAM is learning to design and build in a sustainable way. They are becoming experts in this field. Additionally, they are learning and experiencing what integrated practice truly is. All of this means that they will be more than prepared for 21st century architectural practice and will be well-situated to be leaders in sustainable design and community design.

TEAM BeauSoleil is composed of over 70 architecture, industrial design, interior design, engineering, business, computer science and music students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The Solar Decathlon is a student-driven initiative. So faculty like me are here just as advisors. In future blogs, you will hear primarily from our exceptional student TEAM.

TEAM BeauSoleil also sees its mission to aggressively pursue public outreach. We are constantly presenting to various university, community, primary school and civic groups. We see it as our responsibility to educate the public on relevant issues such as sustainable design, alternative energy (specifically solar energy,) and hurricane reconstruction. As our project develops, please visit our website: beausoleilhome.org to find useful information and links.

This project is a “hands-on” project where the students “learn in the doing” as Frank Lloyd Wright once said. In University terms: it is an excellent model for service-learning and experiential learning. As such, we intend to post on this blog the revelations, successes AND failures we encounter during the construction of the BeauSoleil Home. After all, don’t we learn more from our failures?

I want to thank James Polk for his exciting initiative to profile the Solar Decathlon and specifically TEAM BeauSoleil. I hope all who read the blog will learn something or least be entertained by this unique project!

W. Geoff Gjertson, AIA

TEAM BeauSoleil Faculty Advisor

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