How did you get involved with Solar Decathlon?
I have a friend who was involved in Empower House. He made a Facebook status when the current project was just about to start. I commented that I definitely wanted in on the project and he sent me the date and time for the very first meeting for the house back around the end of the 2011 fall semester. I’ve been a part of the project since.
Are you excited for the Xpo in Irvine, California?
I’m very excited about the Xpo being in California. From what I’ve been told the previous competition in DC was rained on so a lot of the solar technologies all the houses used weren’t able to really show off their full potentials. California should provide better weather conditions and household performances to make for a very interesting competition.
What is your major and how are you contributing your skills to the project?
My major is in Mechanical Engineering and my concentration is a mix between Power Plant engineering and Sustainability. During the conceptual phase of the house I was able to use my knowledge in the various power generation methods to suggest methods to generate, recover, and conserve energy in the house. Beyond that I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned about fluid flows and fluid properties to design the plumbing and various water distribution systems in the house.
What is your specific role in the project?
As I described above, I’m in charge of plumbing and water distributions systems in the house. I have to determine the water budget for the entire competition, size and select pumps to supply water to the house and all its systems, make sure all the lines are up to code and that the waste water lines won’t back up and flood the house haha.
Are you planning on aiding in the construction of the house?
I certainly plan on aiding in the house construction. I’m very proud of the work we’ve all done on paper and in the 3D model. After imagining the house as an idea and then seeing it in a 3D model for the past year I can’t wait to turn all that into an actual functioning house. I’ve also learned a lot from my father on how to handle tools properly. I’ve helped him with car repairs, and projects around the house so I plan on contributing these skills to the project as well.
Once the seniors graduate, do you think the Stevens team will be able to still accomplish their goals?
I have the utmost confidence in our juniors and underclassmen on the project. We’re all very motivated and passionate about the project so I’m sure once most of us have graduated and moved on they’ll be more than capable and happy to take the reigns on the project.
Do you have any ideas for spreading the news about Ecohabit?
Sometimes I feel like we’re producing this phantom project. We’ve done a ton of work, design, conceptualizing, calculating, and system selection on the project so we’re the only people that know anything about it. We could really be showing off some of that information to the general public, campus, students, and faculty. I’ve met a lot of people who are interested and want to know about Ecohabit but have little to no knowledge of what’s going on with it. We have a lot of internal presentations to disseminate information and update everyone on the status of the project so I figure we could have 1 or 2 public presentations open to the campus for students and faculty who are interested to come and see what kind of systems we are using and maybe learn a thing or two about what they can do back at home as well as what’s going on with the project.
Is this your first Solar Decathlon competition? If not, how does this experience compare to the one you had building Empowerhouse?
This is my first Solar Decathlon competition, I’d have liked to have been a part of Empower House but between classes and Co-ops it just slipped right by me.
What skills have you acquired throughout the preparation for Solar D?
I’ve gained skills in using Auto desk Revit, I’ve learned how to actually do plumbing, I’ve learned a lot about pumps and pump applications, they’re much more complex a product than most people think. I feel I certainly gained a lot in communications. Typically at Stevens you’re communicating with your immediate teammates in a project, but this project is so much bigger than that. We’re made up of several sub groups with their own pieces of the project that all intertwine so I haven’t been just communicating with my immediate teammates on the Mechanical team but also the Electrical and Civil and Architecture teams too.
What keeps you motivated to stay on the team and continue to work on the house?
Part of what keeps me going is the sheer gravity of the project. I mean this house will be on display to thousands of people here in Hoboken and out in California during the Xpo. It has the personal interest of President Farvardin, along with quite a number of alumni, and even political figures. Plus it will live on after the competition as a residence for one lucky family. All of these people will be paying attention to how the house performs during and after the competition. That’s some major motivation to put everything I’ve got into this project.