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UNLV students complete Solar Decathlon entry

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Updated: 8/30/2013 11:41 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Some of the world's top schools of engineering and architecture have been invited to compete in the Solar Decathlon 2013 this fall in California and UNLV is among the elite invitees.

The biennial competition highlights sustainable, energy-efficient residential design. News 3's Jerry Brown was on campus today for the look at "Desert Sol" the team Las Vegas entry.

On a morning conspicuously lacking in solar radiation, a team of UNLV students and their professors unveiled their long-anticipated entry into the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon 2013. They didn't let a little rain cloud their enthusiasm.

“It's even better than we expected, so we're really happy,” said Chief Architect and UNLV Professor Eric Weber.

Here at News 3 we have been charting the progress of the team Las Vegas entry since last spring.

The students and faculty are multi-disciplinary architect Weber says and collaboration is the key.

It's particularly true in this case with the complexity of the interface of engineering and architecture, marketing and communications,” Weber said. “All of those things are essential to making this project a success.”

Students like Jinger Zang, a mechanical engineering master's candidate, were quick to note the significance of their 24-month-long project

“This is the future and we are able to produce a house a new house with a new design where actually the solar panels are integrated in the architecture itself,” said Zeng, a UNLV Mechanical Engineering Master's candidate.

This house leaves soon for Irvin, Calif., where the solar decathlon will be held in October. Seeing their efforts standing tall has been particularly gratifying

”When we are doing paper design, a lot of things we are not able to visualize, but have a house like this is something that is really unique, and to us this is a really big visual impact,” Zeng said.

The pre-weathered look of the wood on this house is a nod to our desert climate, an attempt to beat Mother Nature to the punch.

"To commit to a project like this,and when you are 18-24 years old,for two years like this,and it's like a 24/7 thing for them,and just to maintain the energy and focus during the whole thing has been remarkable," Weber said.

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