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Take a Virtual Tour of a Solar House at Rutgers Day
Students, faculty and staff will show off solar-powered projects on April 30.
Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick is scheduled to see a demonstration of the university’s solar initiatives during Rutgers Day, April 30, at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Voorhees Mall, near Seminary Place on the College Avenue Campus.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A 1,000-square-foot home with a distinctive inverted roof, exterior walls of precast concrete and nearly 40 solar panels may be the harbinger of housing’s next generation.
That’s the hope of a team of students that is taking its vision to Washington this fall for an international competition.
Visitors to Rutgers Day on Saturday, April 30 – the day the state university showcases academic and campus life – will have an opportunity to explore a virtual prototype of the innovative solar-powered structure. They also can see presentations about other Rutgers solar initiatives that are significantly reducing the university’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“We are enormously proud that Rutgers University is at the forefront of developing renewable energy sources,” said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. “It is particularly gratifying that people from across New Jersey who attend Rutgers Day will be able to see firsthand the impressive solar-power initiatives of our faculty, students and staff.”
Rutgers students and faculty, along with staff from the university’s Department of Facilities and Capital Planning, will participate in the Rutgers Day solar power demonstration on Voorhees Mall, near Seminary Place on the College Avenue Campus. President McCormick is scheduled to stop by the demonstration when he tours the campus on Rutgers Day at approximately 12:30 p.m.
The demonstration will include an animated “virtual tour” of the prototype solar house, which will be built in Newark this summer by a team of students from Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Once it is tested, the house will be dismantled and transported to Washington as part of the international U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition.
Since 2002, the Decathlon has engaged academic teams to work on ways to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and to create a clean-energy economy. Twenty teams compete every two years; final judging this year takes place beginning Sept. 13. This is the first time that a team from New Jersey is participating in the fiercely competitive event.
“At Rutgers Day, people will see the technologies we’re using in the Solar Decathlon house – solar panels, precast concrete materials – and take a video digital walk-through, like a fly-by, to see what it’s like to walk into the house and look around,” said Clinton Andrews, one of the faculty directors on the project.
Andrews, a professor of urban planning and director of the Rutgers Center for Green Building at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, said Team New Jersey’s entry turns traditional building on its head – suggesting new methods of producing high-performance, energy-efficient homes.
The participation by Rutgers and NJIT grew out of a challenge from U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, who visited the Bloustein School in February to see the results. After viewing the project, with its many cost-saving features, the senator echoed one of the student designers, who said, “Who would not want to have a house without a heating or electric bill?”
Visitors to Rutgers Day also can learn more about the university’s initiative to build one of the nation’s largest solar canopy energy systems. Rutgers is installing more than 40,000 high-efficiency solar panel canopy structures over two large surface parking areas on the university’s Livingston Campus.
The 32 acres of solar canopies, approved this month by the Rutgers Board of Governors, are expected to generate eight megawatts of power – equal to the annual energy consumption of nearly 1,000 households. When completed, the canopy system will be more than four times larger than the seven-acre, 1.4 megawatt “solar farm” that the university opened on Livingston in 2009. When the canopy project is completed, these two facilities are expected to save the university $1.5 million in annual utility costs.
“The new canopy project will provide 53 percent of Livingston’s power, and if you add in the existing solar farm, both will provide 64 percent of the power needed for Livingston,” said Joseph Witkowski, the university’s director of utility operations. He added that students from across the country regularly tour the Livingston solar farm.
Among the 500 Rutgers Day programs on tap this year, rain or shine, are musical and theatrical performances, lectures, demonstrations, tours, athletic competitions and hands-on activities for adults and children.
Other Rutgers Day activities on Voorhees Mall include:
- Physics Magic Show: Exploding oranges, disappearing glasses and water that defies gravity are the highlights of a magic show performed by the physics teachers of tomorrow – students at the Graduate School of Education.
- Chinese Opera for Kids: Children and their parents will be mesmerized by the splendors of Chinese opera at a demonstration of face-painting and craft-making. Youngsters can pose for pictures in full opera regalia at this program offered by the university’s Confucius Institute.
Rutgers Day takes place on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Busch, College Avenue and Cook/Douglass campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway.
All Rutgers Day programs are free and open to the public. Free parking is available, and free buses will run among the campuses where events are scheduled. Rutgers Day is sponsored in part by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, St. Peter’s Healthcare System, Johnson & Johnson and PSE&G WorryFree™. Media partners for Rutgers Day are Greater Media NJ and the Star-Ledger.
For more information about Rutgers Day, please go to rutgersday.rutgers.edu.
Media Contact: Fredda Sacharow
732-932-7084 Ext. 610
Contact: Ken Branson
732-932-7084 Ext. 633