Solar Decathlon House heading to San Antonio

April 20, 2009
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Texas A&M's Solar Decathlon House is finding a new home. The Solar D was designed and built as Texas A&M University's entry in the 2007 Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the Department of Energy, as a collective effort of a group of dedicated students, faculty, staff, and external partners. After its journey from the College of Architecture's Ranch at the Riverside Campus in College Station to the Washington D.C. Mall competition site, and its return to College Station to be on display to the public at the Bush Library's parking lot for almost one year, the Solar D began another journey on Monday (April 20), to San Antonio. The College of Architecture (CARC) at Texas A&M University which made the significant initial investment in the conception, development, and execution of the Solar D, is partnering with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), through its Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), to transfer this architectural and technological icon from its current location and state, to a site in San Antonio. The ultimate goal is to transform the Solar D into a Texas A&M University System wide asset, as a cornerstone and focal point for the development of collaborative, interdisciplinary, and cross-institutional research, teaching/learning/training, and engagement opportunities. One initial opportunity that will benefit from this partnership is the official launch of the Zero-Impact Self-Sustaining (ZISS) Collaboratory, which will initially bring together researchers from a wide range of disciplines within Architecture, Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and other units within Texas A&M and the Texas A&M System as needed, in the development of solutions for sustainable built and natural environments. Commenting on this opportunity, "Skip" Mills, director of the San Antonio Operations of TCAT/TEES stated: "The City of San Antonio is eagerly awaiting Solar D's next life as a nexus for research and development, as well as, a learning center for sustainability. It is being considered as a candidate for incorporation within Mayor Phil Hardberger's new Mission Verde Initiative - An Economic Approach to Sustainability, focused on energy." In addition, Dr. Jorge Vanegas, interim dean of the college of architecture stated, "The emerging partnership between the College of Architecture and TEES, combined with the Solar D move, offers an exciting and unparalleled opportunity to create an exemplar of integrated research, teaching/learning/training, and engagement scholarship, in a domain of critical importance for the City of San Antonio, the State of Texas, our Nation, and the World: the sustainability of the built and natural environments. We are very proud to be a partner in this initiative."

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