SolarWorld solar blog

Team Florida Part 3: Construction begins and the team hits the news

Posted 20 June 2011 12:00 AM by Hunter Taylor, Team Florida communications member

With only three months before FLeX House is shipped to D.C. for the Solar Decathlon competition, Team Florida has ramped up construction at the Beck site. This past month, we built the floor frames on top of FLeX’s movable foundation and installed steel support beams as well as framed and sheathed the walls—and the more we build, the more people are taking notice.

Construction begins on FLeX House by Team Florida
A view of the progress on FLeX House. The facilities of Beck Construction (our contractor) are visible in the background

A reporter from the Tampa Tribune contacted us about a week after our informal groundbreaking. She met us at the construction site with a Channel 8 News cameraman and interviewed two of our faculty advisers and one graduate student working on the project. The following week, FLeX house was featured on the front page of the Tampa Tribune and in a Channel 8 News segment.

The team’s spirits have been up tremendously with these first major media hits, the continual materialization of two long years of planning and the recent donation of the emergency recovery ventilator to our project. As of right now, FLeX House is still on track for completion in August.

Solar Decathlon also has a few deadlines schedule for the end of June. The competition requires each team to present deliverable materials in the form of brochures and signage. Solar Decathlon only allows teams to deliver one version of a brochure, which has been our biggest hurdle to overcome.

When handed out in September, the brochures will be given to a wide audience including professionals, elementary students, and people walking in from the streets. We need a piece that will educate and cater to these vastly different groups, all while presenting the information within an innovative design that reflects spirit and ambition of FLeX House.

The required signage must go in and around FLeX House and will be viewed by tour attendees. Because thousands of people tour the Solar Village, we are being encouraged to keep traffic moving, and we’ve struggled with how much information to place on our signage. Too much copy could cause traffic jams as visitors try to read every word on the exhibit panels. We plan on incorporating QR code technology on each sign for attendees to scan, save and read at a later time.

In the coming weeks, we’ll continue putting FLeX House’s progress out there by pitching stories that (hopefully) will be picked up by more media outlets.

Next steps for construction are roof trusses and spray foam insulation. We’re also preparing cypress for FLeX House’s two decks. Sealing the boards is a tedious task, but we’re getting there slowly!