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Students headed to Denver as ‘Solar Decathlon’ finalists

Gerring and the team, en route to Denver
Gerring and the team, en route to Denver

Pennsylvania College of Technology is fielding one of the 55 teams traveling to Colorado this week for the final round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2022 Design Challenge. The college’s team, competing in the “Office Building” category, was among the finalists chosen based on virtual presentations and design submissions during February’s semifinals.

“Our Solar Decathlon team is very excited to be heading to Denver to compete in the final round this coming weekend,” said faculty adviser Dorothy J. Gerring, associate professor of architecture. “They have been developing their design since September and are ready to answer tough questions about their choices and system designs. This is our first competition back on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus for several years and it is a great opportunity for our students to meet others from around the world interested in the future of sustainable building design.”

Student team prepped for national competitionGerring will accompany five of the team members: Declan Wallace Gatchell, Manchester; David T. Hornak, Spring Mills; Alejandro Franco Huaman, Dingmans Ferry; Carter J. Simcox, Lock Haven; and RJ Thompson, Merion Station. Thompson is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in building science and sustainable design; the other four are enrolled in that four-year major’s architectural technology concentration.

They will be cheered from Pennsylvania by teammates David B. Fischetti, Mechanicsburg, and Kory M. Smith, Shavertown, both majoring in building science and sustainable design: architectural technology concentration; and Harrison Wohlfarth, Midlothian, Virginia, an applied technology studies student and building construction technology alumnus. (Due to the size of the competition venue, the NREL limited in-person participation to five members per entrant.)

A rendering of the Community League Office Center
A rendering of the Community League Office Center

The collegiate competition challenges interdisciplinary student teams to design residential or commercial projects that are “highly efficient, innovative, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy.” Designs are evaluated across 10 subcompetitions including architecture and engineering, as well as market analysis, durability and resilience, energy performance, embodied environmental impact and comfort, and environmental quality and occupant experience.

The Penn College project – which creates more energy than it uses – is the “Community League Office Center,” designed to accommodate leasable office space and a new location for Williamsport’s Community Theatre League.

Anyone wishing to financially assist the students in their quest is welcome to visit College Relations’ giving page.

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