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The Solar Decathlon And Abet Ec 2000

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1291.1 - 9.1291.10



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Paper Authors

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Shana Craft

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David Click

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P. Paxton Marshall

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Solar Decathlon and ABET EC 2000 P. Paxton Marshall, David Click, Shana Craft Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Virginia


In October 2002 the University of Virginia (UVA) Solar House team placed second in the inaugural Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), culminating a two year effort in which over 100 engineering and architecture students designed and built a solar-powered house. The sunshine falling on the house supplies all the energy needs of a normal family, as the design incorporates photovoltaic generation of electricity and solar water heating for domestic hot water and space heating using a radiant floor. There is also a stone-lined sunroom for collecting and storing solar energy, and adjustable louvers over the extensive south- facing glazing to regulate incoming solar radiation. Data logging, control and user interface are integrated by a LabVIEW-based automation system. The house continues to serve as a laboratory for multidisciplinary capstone design team projects. The project, which allows students to learn energy concepts in an integrated realistic setting, provides numerous benefits for engineering students that are often lacking in standard engineering instruction, and that are being emphasized by the new ABET EC 2000 criteria. It introduces them to holistic systems thinking—that the system is not necessarily optimized by optimizing the subsystems individually. It connects with the real world experiences of students. It provides an ideal vehicle for “incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints that include most of the following considerations: economic; environmental; sustainability; manufacturability; ethical; health and safety; social; and political”. [ABET EC2000, criterion 4] It demands initiative and provides leadership opportunities in project management, cost estimation and budgeting, marketing and fund-raising. It develops manual skills, communication skills, and teamwork skills. It values and develops aesthetic judgment and creativity. This paper will describe the Solar Decathlon, the UVA house design, the educational value of the project, and how it contributes to the goals of ABET EC 2000.

Introduction: ABET EC 2000

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has issued a call for rethinking engineering education with its Engineering Criteria (EC) 2000. No longer is it sufficient for programs to demonstrate that they provide students with the appropriate inputs: a specified minimum number of credits in fundamental math and science, engineering science, engineering design, and humanities and social science. Now programs must demonstrate the attainment of specified outputs: capabilities achieved by students in eleven different skill areas specified by ABET, as well as additional areas selected by the programs themselves. The eleven skills specified by ABET in criterion three, together with the design requirement of criterion four, emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of 21st century engineering. Not only must engineering graduates engineers be able to demonstrate competence in traditional engineering-related tasks: a) apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering, b)

Craft, S., & Click, D., & Marshall, P. P. (2004, June), The Solar Decathlon And Abet Ec 2000 Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13861

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