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2013 United States Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon -Middlebury College to Irvine, California


2013-10-08 Nop’s Metal Works oversaw the erection of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon collegiate challenge recently. Working on both the east and west sides of the United States, NMW provided guidance and consistency for the Middlebury College team of students who participated in the global competition. As described on the website, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The Middlebury College team was inspired to create InSite, a family house that allows its owners to live comfortable and sustainable lives. In choosing to design the house for its final placement in the team’s hometown of Middlebury, Vermont, the team wasn't able to orient the solar panels for the competition site. To solve this problem, it decided to take the solar panels from their traditional place on the roof to create an architectural element called the Solar Path—a walkway under the free-standing solar panels to the front of the house. This design decision led to other breakthroughs, such as the ability to create a full green roof to insulate and protect the house from Vermont’s cold winter winds. Every step of the way, the team made sure to incorporate sustainable decisions into the design—from using local or reclaimed materials to shipping the house by train to save energy. (Information provided by

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