DWP approves $100,000 for USC Solar Decathlon effort
In a unanimous vote of its board of commissioners on Nov. 20, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) approved a $100,000 sponsorship to USC’s Solar Decathlon team, a campus-wide interdisciplinary effort spearheaded by the USC School of Architecture.
USC is one of 20 universities worldwide selected to compete in the biennial competition in which each team designs and builds an innovative, energy-efficient home. Each house will be built once at the competition site and once at its permanent location. The 2013 event will be held at the Great Park in Orange County, at the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
Architecture Dean Qingyun Ma, associate professor Alice Kimm and two team members, fifth-year student and project co-manager Evyn Larson and fourth-year student Corey Koczarski, were present at the commission meeting, where Ma, Larson and Koczarski spoke.
Ma said that the DWP was “the perfect partner for a showcase of net-zero design and construction.”
He added, “Together we can overcome the challenges and create an environmentally sustaining, inspiring and beautiful project.”
Larson said it was not often that architecture students get the chance to design and build a project, and Koczarski called it “an amazing opportunity.”
DWP Commissioner Christina Noonan, in moving to approve the sponsorship, said the Solar Decathlon project “is a wonderful partnership and example for the city of Los Angeles.”
It is expected that DWP staff members will be available to consult on the project.
Construction on campus is expected to begin in the spring and will take place on the lawn south of Watt Hall.
In addition to architecture students, the USC entry will involve faculty and students from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Rossier School of Education, the USC Marshall School of Business, the LA/USC Smart Grid program and USC’s Center for Energy Nanoscience, among other participants.
Earlier this year, the team received a startup grant of $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy, given to each of the collegiate teams competing in the decathlon. Other California teams that were selected to compete are Stanford University, Santa Clara University and a joint team from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the California Institute of Technology. International teams are represented by Austria, the Czech Republic and Ontario and Alberta, Canada.