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ESF-SU Solar Decathlon Team Earns Honorable Mention in National Competition

The combined ESF-SU Syracuse Energy Efficient Design (SEED) team was awarded an honorable mention in the Mixed-Use Multifamily Division at this year's Solar Decathlon Design Challenge.


The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.


This year, the team of 20 students - 10 from ESF and 10 from Syracuse University - partnered with Christopher Community, Inc. to develop a mixed-use assisted living facility for young adults with mild to severe autism. Christopher Community is a not-for-profit organization that develops and operates safe, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families to ensure their independence and dignity while enhancing the character of the neighborhoods in which they live.


"The students were committed from day one to get a project built for a real owner and to make a real difference," said Paul Crovella, who teaches sustainable construction at ESF. From there, the project "Our Home at Smokey Hollow" was born.


"The requirements of the parents and the competition diverged in multiple instances," according to Crovella. At each juncture, the team chose to stick to their mission for the parents and children, while producing a highly competitive net-zero design.


"In the end, the team may have sacrificed greater competition success due to their knowledge that it wouldn't best serve those in need," said Crovella. "In spite of that, the team was one of the top four out of 18 teams in their division."


Due to health concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Design Challenge Weekend scheduled for April 17-19 was transitioned to a virtual event. Projects were submitted online and various presentations and Q&As were conducted via virtual conferencing.


SEED members from ESF are Ryan Badke, construction management, Syosset, New York; Noah Townsend, construction management, Skaneateles, New York; Rosemary Adrat, environmental science, Garnerville, New York; Nathaniel Hengy, environmental resources engineering, Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Lucas Pharmer, sustainability energy management, High Falls, New York; Virginia Weisar, environmental resources engineering, St. Charles, Missouri.; Bethany Stuart, construction management, Syosset, New York; Erin Englehart, landscape architecture; Baldwin, New York; Jean-Claude Rigano, construction management, New Paltz, New York; and Chris Carrano, construction management, Merrick, New York.


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