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WVU Solar Decathlon team visits Charleston

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A team of West Virginia University students presented their plans for a national solar home building contest in Charleston this week.

The event, a small reception and presentation hosted by ZMM Architects on Feb. 19, gave the students a chance to field questions about their project. In October, they will compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.

The project is a solar-powered home that is built to blend modern energy efficiency, smart appliances and energy generation with more rustic design features inspired by Appalachia. The students said many in the competition design homes for the contest that feature "in-your-face" technology. Their goal is to blend the technology into the typical comforts of a rural home.

WVU's team is the first to have a log home accepted into the competition.

Just because it's rustic doesn't mean it won't compete on the tech front. Students plan to have a number of modern technologies incorporated into the house, even designing an app for their mobile phones that can control elements of the home.

Another requirement is that the house, when built and operating, must produce more energy than it consumes.

Before traveling to California to compete, team members will build and rebuild their home a number of times in Morgantown. The team must generate some of its own funding, but $100,000 was provided through the U.S. Department of Energy, which is hosting the Decathlon.

WVU is also collaborating with students from the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

Donations are tax deductible. Anyone wishing to contribute to the project can contact team member Stephen Rebinksi at srebinski@mix.wvu.edu.