Bay Area challenge

There is encouraging news in the Chronicle about how young people in the Bay Area are meeting environmental challenges. Building a solar house is a huge challenge for any group of engineers and students from Harvard, MIT, and other large universities are trying to design one that works. But small Santa Clara University has decided to compete with the big boys and are working on a solar house that will meet the criteria.

The contest requires each home to perform set tasks – like deliver a hot shower (15 gallons heated to 110 degrees) within 10 seconds, keep room temperature between 72 and 76 degrees, wash dishes in a dishwasher, operate a refrigerator and freezer, run a TV/video player up to six hours a day and keep a computer going at least eight hours a day. After that, the house will need enough watts to charge an electric vehicle.

The winning house will be on display in Washington D.C. as part of a “solar village”. We’ll all be proud if our West Coast team wins–and we’ll all be winners if solar power can become a major source of energy!

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