Team Alberta’s decathletes and their Enmax SolAbode home will compete against 19 other teams in the international Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., this October.

The team for Calgary’s student-built solar home worked for two years and included over 100 students, faculty and staff from the University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic, Mount Royal University, and the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Halley O’Byrne, U of C mechanical engineering student and project mechanical lead, said the team worked long days to complete the home and test all of its systems.

“The best part of the project was getting my hands in everything. I liked seeing all of the other disciplines at work.”

O’Byrne said this project will help change Calgary’s predominant oil-and-gas reputation to reflect one that pushes for renewable resource use.

Behind the scenes, the sight of intertwined wires, thermal storage units and solar panels may intimidate a potential solar-home owner. O’Byrne said the team is working on an operator’s manual — a solar homeowner, fix-it-yourself book.

Along with the energy-saving systems, the home’s angular ceiling and asymmetrical rooms give Enmax SolAbode a unique look and feel.

Lauren Rooney, a U of C environmental science student, said the stone materials and wood structuring give the home a “very Albertan” style — something Rooney said her team believed was important.

Approximately 200,000 visitors are expected to tour the solar-home decathlon. After the competition, Team Alberta’s solar home will be showcased in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics.

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