Queen’s Solar Design Team to shine at Homecoming

Solar design team to demonstrate progress on Solar Education Centre to visiting alumni

The Queen's Solar Education Centre is located in the West Campus parking lot.
The Queen's Solar Education Centre is located in the West Campus parking lot.
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The Queen’s Solar Design Team (QSDT) will show off their solar-powered house as it nears completion at their first-ever Homecoming event this Saturday.

The event, scheduled for Oct. 24 at 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be a tour of the team’s Solar Education Centre and a networking session intended to secure donations from alumni. It’ll take place at the Solar Education Centre located in the West Campus parking lot.

Kevin Mulligan, QDST’s project manager, says the primary goal of the event is to show alumni what the team has achieved.

“Our team has a history of 25 years going back to the Queen’s Solar Vehicle Team, so we have a huge alumni base,” Mulligan, Sci ’17, said.

The Queen’s Solar Education Centre — a 75-square metre house designed to be sustainably autonomous — began as an application for the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

At the decathlon, collegiate teams compete to design, build and operate solar-powered houses. The QSDT competed in the Solar Decathlon and placed sixth overall.

The QSDT have recently completed the entirety of the house’s outer shell in September. The shell was designed with a passive solar design, which allow the house to distribute heat without the use of mechanical or electrical devices.

The QSDT has since moved on to design the house’s rainwater collection and filtration system. The projected completion date for the centre is September 2016.

Mulligan says the team has outlined three goals for the Queen’s Solar Education Centre: to have the house completely autonomous and sustainable off-grid, to function as an education centre and to eventually act as a research centre.

QSDT’s outreach team organized tours of the centre over the summer with summer camps and are now arranging workshops with neighboring schools. The first education outreach event will take place on Oct. 31. After that event, tours of the house will be held every two weeks.

The QSDT has also partnered with Dr. Stephen Harrison, director of the Queen’s Solar Calorimetry Laboratory as well as an associate professor at Queen’s. Harrison has acted as faculty advisor to the team since 1988.

According to Mulligan, Harrison will play an integral role in the Solar Education Centre’s transition into a research centre.

Mulligan has high hopes for the tour and networking event this Saturday. He said the house’s location — close to the Homecoming game in Richardson Stadium — will help bring visitors to the house.

“We want to attract as much alumni as possible.”

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