California News

Norwich student Miranda Otto speaks with with Vivian Stafford, wife of Byron Stafford. (Photo courtesy of Carol Anna)

Norwich student Miranda Otto speaks with Vivian Stafford, wife of Byron Stafford, after the team received a special award in his name. (Photo courtesy of Carol Anna)

Norwich receives special award at the conclusion of Solar Decathlon

Norwich’s Delta T90 team got a surprise at the final reception of the 2013 Solar Decathlon. The team was given a special award in honor of Byron Stafford, longtime operations manager for this international competition, who died in May 2013.

“I don’t think anyone at the competition even knew they were recognizing a team for having the same attributes as Byron Stafford,” said Kimberly Lynch, an architecture student from Long Island, N.Y.

Melissa King, wife of Solar Decathlon founder and director Richard King, made the presentation late in the final competition celebration, held after the contests had concluded on the second-to-last day of the 10-day event. She said the award is meant for the team that best exemplifies the spirit and qualities of Stafford, who has been closely involved with the competition since its conception in the late 1990s. King described him as honest, caring, humble, intelligent, fair, reliable, steadfast and genuine.

Aron Temkin, dean of Norwich’s College of Professional Schools, said it was wonderful to be recognized for the students’ hard work and qualities they brought to the event, particularly because it is a brand new award.

“It just goes to show they’re competing in a truly Norwich spirit, and we’re extremely proud of them,” he said.

Temkin added it has been great to hear feedback from the thousands of people who visited Delta T90 at the exhibition. Visitors seem to respond to its affordability and the dedication of the students answering their questions, he said.

“They found it to be a welcoming house,” said Temkin.

Carol Anna, the Decathlon’s communications manager, affirmed that the award was a surprise to event staff. She added that Stafford managed the logistics of the Solar Village, and was critical to its operations. He was an honest, hardworking person whose loss has affected everyone involved with the competition, she said.

Posted Oct. 13, 2013


Norwich finishes 12th overall in Solar Decathlon competition

The competitive portion of the Solar Decathlon has concluded, but the event is far from over.

Students from Norwich University, which placed 12th overall in the international 19-team contest — and secured a top spot in the affordability category — have a lot of work ahead of them.

Just 30 minutes after the Decathlon gates opened to the public, a steady stream of visitors were already filing through the house. Mike Pritchard, a senior architecture student from Bristol, N.H., answered questions about the SoloPower thin-film amorphous solar panels that form Norwich’s solar array. NU is the only team in the competition to feature these panels, which are thin, flexible and attach by adhesive, and visitors were fascinated.

People asked questions about efficiency compared to standard panels, which Pritchard explained was quite favorable. The expected lifespan was comparable as well, and the lightweight panels have other advantages.

“These panels are made to collect indirect sunlight, whereas standard panels are made to collect direct light,” he said.

This year’s Solar Decathlon, the sixth in the U.S., shed light on its farthest visitors, with Austria and the Czech Republic taking two of the top three spots. To see the results, check the Solar Decathlon webpage.  Vermont’s other team, Middlebury College, finished in eighth place.

Pritchard said it was a bittersweet to have the competition come to an end, but there were still two days of exhibition, and the crowds will be big. Then, the house, the Delta T90, will have to be disassembled and readied for its journey to Ohio  where it will become part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Wescott House.

“It’s nice it’s over, and (we) can have a normal life again,” said Pritchard, “but I will miss it, for sure.”

Posted Oct. 12, 2013


Aerial shot of the 2013 Solar Decathlon competition.

Solar Decathlon from the top down

From a balloon, at 400 feet, is the best way to begin taking in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.

From high above, it’s easy to take in all the houses, exhibitors and crowds that have flocked to this event, staged in Irvine, California on the former site of an airstrip. Norwich’s entry, the Delta-T90, can be seen in the photo in the left-side column, third from the top.

Down below, Norwich students work hard to keep up with a steady stream of tourists, building enthusiasts and school kids filing through the house. Student Miranda Otto counts off small groups and staggers their entry into the building to keep congestion at a minimum. Inside, small children flock to the video screen and couch while their parents ask students pointed questions about R-values and the number of panes in the windows.

“I believe we had 1,300 (visitors) yesterday,” said Norwich student Caleb Burrington, adding that the first week of the exhibition seemed to have lighter traffic, probably due to scorching temperatures and consistent 30-mile-per-hour winds. “The lines are always large and long. So much so that we have to fast-forward the tours.”

Friday had a bit of an international feel, as teams from Austria and the Czech Republic took top honors in the Communications and Architecture categories of the competition. To learn more about the scoring, check the Solar Decathlon webpage, and learn more about Norwich’s progress in this tight competition. Tomorrow is the big day when they will announce winners of the Engineering and Overall contests.
Posted Oct. 11, 2013