Solar Decathlon 2015 Team Nexushaus Part 4: Build. Disassemble. Re-build.
Posted 30 September 2015 12:00 AM by Molly K. McNamara, Communications, UT-TUM Solar Decathlon Team
September has been an extremely busy month for NexusHaus! Monday through Sunday, sun up to sun down, students and faculty members worked tirelessly to get the modules ready to ship to Irvine on September 22nd. Other milestone events this month included: a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Dean Fritz Steiner of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSOA); our Sponsor Build Day on Sunday, September 13th; and participating in the UT Sustainability Symposium on September 18th.
With the start of the fall semester, we were challenged to balance construction with our class schedules. Students devoted their spare moments to the NexusHaus construction site. Megan Recher, our construction team leader, has navigated scheduling conflicts and funding obstacles with sheer positivity. Her positive attitude has kept the team afloat, along with the immense efforts of engineering lead, Charles Upshaw, faculty adviser, Adam Pyrek, and undergraduate architecture student, Henry Wen. Other team members have lent their evenings and weekends to the project ensuring the careful completion of the facade rain screen, the interiors, and the deck installation.
One of our project managers, Preethi Sreedhara worked with the UTSOA administrative staff to finalize travel plans and budgeting to make sure everything is in order for Irvine. The Germans have also been planning their U.S. arrival and received our team uniforms, which are a blend of Texas and Bavarian culture. We are ecstatic to be reunited in California, and for the Department of Energy 2015 Solar Decathlon to begin!
Our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony allowed members from the public and supporters to come out and see the construction process. We featured our sponsor electric vehicle and led tours showing off our reclaimed wood floors. Local news came out for the event and spoke with our student leaders about the future of sustainable housing in Austin.
On September 13th, we invited our sponsors to have a more exclusive look at our project and gave them the chance to participate with the construction. Hardhats and close-toed shoes were required, but most of the heavy lifting was left to our volunteers, contractors, and students. That day the bathroom tile was installed and all the cabinets were assembled. NexusHaus’ interior began to look like the welcoming living environment it was designed to be.
The sixth annual UT Sustainability Symposium featured over 25 speakers on topics of sustainability on campus, in Austin, and beyond the city limits. NexusHaus communications team member and recent architecture graduate student, Jessica Janzen, gave a talk about the design of our house and the reasons behind our design thinking. The talk was very well received and sparked interesting discussion among the audience and the panelists.
Other notable accomplishments include: receiving our canopy modules which will provide both shade and rain protected cover between the day and night modules; the installation of our NanaWall® systems of folding glass walls, which allow for the true indoor-outdoor living experience; and the completion of our Aquaponics System located along the ramp up to the deck. We still have a number of tasks requiring completion in Irvine, but due to potential instability during transport, the team determined it would be best to wait. Highest on our to-do list is the installation of our SolarWorld solar system. The first batch of students and faculty leaves for Irvine Saturday, September 26th. We look forward to sharing our experiences at the competition with SolarWorld.