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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU-Hampton Unit a Finalist in Solar Home Contest

Old Dominion University and Hampton University, working together as Team Tidewater, have been named among 20 finalists in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, a global student competition for designing and constructing environmentally friendly homes.

Architecture and engineering students from the two schools will build what they call Canopy House, a treelike structure featuring a glass ceiling and touch sensors that people with disabilities can use to control indoor heating, lighting and cooling.

Among other finalists in the high-tech contest, held by the U.S. Department of Energy, are two schools from Canada, one from Austria, another from the Czech Republic, as well as ones from Stanford University, West Virginia University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

ODU and Hampton are the only schools from Virginia in the event, though Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia have fared well in past decathlons, held every two years.

ODU and Hampton formed a team two years ago and created a model for urban, green apartment living, known as Unit 6 Unplugged. Their invention finished 14th out of 19 entries at the Solar Decathlon judging in October in Washington.

This time, students will have to build their homes, break them down, pack them up and cart them to California for judging, scheduled for fall 2013.

"We said we weren't going to do it again, especially after so much time and hard work, but then we decided to try," said Mujde Erten-Unal, an engineering professor at ODU and a team leader. "Maybe we're crazy."

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