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Brad Petersen
Director of
Communications
1066 ECE Building
306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 244-6376
bradp@illinois.edu

Contact Info

Meg Dickinson
Communications Specialist
1068 ECE Building
306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 300-6664
megd@illinois.edu

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Alumnus Bob Johnson: brigadier general, electrical engineer and polo player at 89

Alumnus Bob Johnson: brigadier general, electrical engineer and polo player at 89

Alumnus Bob Johnson (BSEE '38) served in the pacific theatre of the Second World War, reached the rank of brigadier general, worked as an electrical engineer, and played competitive polo until the age of 87.

2009 Solar Decathlon house arrives on Illinois campus

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By Laurel Bollinger, ECE ILLINOIS
June 22, 2009

  • Illinois' Solar Decathalon team received delivery of the Gable House from Homeway Homes.
  • Homeway has spent the last two years collaborating with the Illinois team.
  • Illinois' team has until October to put the finishing touches on the house before competition.

Gable Home, the Illinois entry in the Solar Decathlon competition, was delivered to campus on June 15. The project has brought together students from across engineering and architecture.
Gable Home, the Illinois entry in the Solar Decathlon competition, was delivered to campus on June 15. The project has brought together students from across engineering and architecture.

After working for the last year and a half, the students involved with the 2009 Solar Decathlon finally received the most important part of the project: the house.

The Illinois team worked with Homeway Homes, a company in Goodfield, Ill., on the design and construction of the house, which was named Gable Home. The house was delivered on Monday, June 15, at its site by the Turner Hall greenhouses on Dorner Drive, south of the ACES Library.

Architecture students on the Gable Home team were there to help set up the site and unload the house. Senior architecture major Ryan Abendroth said that this moment had been a long time coming. “It feels pretty good. It’s kind of a relief to have it here,” said Abendroth. “We’ve been working on it for about a year and a half now. So it will be great to get it in place.”

However, now that the house is on site there is no time to relax with plenty of work ahead of the team. “We have to do all the siding and roofing, putting in all the appliances and fixtures,” Abendroth said. “We need to do all the interior work so even though we have a good few months to do it, it’ll be hard to get it all done.”

Fellow architecture student Philip Dimick shared in Abendroth’s excitement. “It feels good because a lot of people have spent a lot of time on this project so we’re happy that we can start finishing it,” said Dimick.

Dimick also said that the team has already seen their hard work pay off. “We’ve been among the few groups participating in the Decathlon that have had all the plans approved and one of only three groups out of 20 that submitted everything on June 2nd on time,” said Dimick.

Commercial and Multi-Family Sales Consultant for Homeway Homes Steven J. Venden spent the last two years collaborating with the Illinois team, helping to design this project and was also very happy to have it completed and delivered to the students. “We are very proud of the work we did in collaboration with the University and the students and faculty involved,” said Venden.

Venden said that Homeway Homes works on projects similar in design to this house every year, but this particular model had its own differences that complicated and prolonged the process. “Homeway Homes sets over 250 modules per year so this type of set is very common,” said Venden.  “The shape of this passive house created a few variations which we were able to handle.”

Now that the home is delivered the student teams have until October to finish and make sure that the house will meet all the requirements of the Decathlon. As ECE Associate Professor Patrick Lyle Chapman, the principal investigator for the Gable Home project, said, “The delivery of the house marks the end of a long, interdisciplinary design and engineering phase.  It marks a new phase of testing and verification leading up to the competition.”

About the Solar Decathlon

Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon brings together teams from colleges and universities to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses. Among the focuses of the competition are the attractiveness, effectiveness, and energy-efficiency of the completed houses. And among the goals are educating the participants about the benefits of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green technologies; raising awareness among the public regarding these technologies; and fostering collaboration among students of differing academic disciplines.

For more information on the Illinois Solar Decathlon team, visit www.solardecathlon.illinois.edu.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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