Crowder-Drury team feeling confident as Solar Decathlon begins in California

DecathlonSPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 9, 2015 — The Crowder-Drury Solar Decathlon team has been on the ground in Irvine, California for more than 10 days now, assembling, furnishing and preparing the ShelteR3 (pronounced “Shelter Cubed”) home for a series of 10 contests as part of this international competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Today is first full day of the competition and the Crowder-Drury Decathletes are feeling confident about their showing. The student-led team is pumping out numerous updates from the contest online. Local residents and media outlets can track the team’s progress in the following ways:

Here are a few storylines to know so far:

Get social: The Crowder-Drury team is in first place in the social media engagement portion of the contest. Local residents can help by continuing to share, comment, and like the content on the Facebook and Twitter pages linked above. Use these hash tags: #‎SD2015 and #CrowderDrurySol and mention @‎SolarDecathlon. Engagement yields more points than mere likes or re-tweets, so feel free to ask the team questions or offer words of encouragement online.

Helping hands: Instead of going to a reception event on Wednesday night, several Crowder-Drury students helped the team from New York City College of Technology finish its house. “It’s moments like this that show the character of our students and remind us that this is about much more than a competition,” says Drury professor of architecture Traci Sooter.

Emergency plants: After the team realized the plants they’d ordered for the home were a bit … underwhelming, supporters formed a “crisis plant fund” that raised more than $500 in about 24 hours for some stellar plants that will help with ShelteR3’s curb appeal. That’s just the latest fundraising success for a team that has raised more than $458,000 for the project overall through in-kind and cash donations.

Hang loose: The team is having some fun using a Malibu Ken doll as its unofficial on-site mascot. When you’re in a high-pressure environment like the Decathlon, you have to look for ways to keep things loose while remaining highly focused on the work at hand.

In print: ShelteR3 was featured in a story published in the OC Register on Wednesday.

On air: NBC Nightly News interviewed the ShelteR3 team at Crowder College in September as part of a larger package on the Decathlon. The story will air nationally on NBC at a later date as the Decathlon wraps up.

The contests: The first of 10 contests took place Thursday night. In the Home Life Contest, students hosted a dinner party in the house for other teams. Remaining measured contests include: Commuting, Appliances, Comfort Zone and Energy Balance. Juried contests include: Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Communications and Affordability.

The competition: Check out the other teams in the contest.

About the Solar Decathlon

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Decathlon pits future architects, engineers, marketers and business people from the nation’s top colleges against one another, challenging them to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner of the competition will be the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The Crowder-Drury entry accomplishes all this – and more. The ShelteR3 house has a three-part design philosophy of Respond, Recover and Resist. Inspired by the devastating and deadly 2011 Joplin tornado, the house is transportable so that it can be trucked to disaster areas during emergency response and recovery efforts. It can then be converted in a permanent and stylish living structure that is designed to resist the extreme winds and debris clouds of potential tornadoes. For more on the house, check out this overview video.

Happy Holidays from Drury University

Smart Mob builds butterfly garden in Joplin