Two years of designing, planning, fundraising and materials-sourcing—not to mention hammer-swinging—has paid off for the UNLV students and faculty behind DesertSol, the school’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
Facing elite groups from around the world, UNLV took second place at the October 10-13 sustainable design-build contest in Irvine, California. Team Austria placed first among the 20 teams chosen for the biennial decathlon; also competing were Stanford, USC, the Czech Republic and a tandem squad from CalTech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
UNLV’s success was foreshadowed on the competition’s first day, when DesertSol took first place in market appeal, one of the decathlon’s 10 categories. It also was in the top five for hot water, home entertainment and comfort—all affirmations of the team’s vision for a sustainable home that both reflects its native Mojave Desert environment and offers an ideal space for relaxing and entertaining.