NU Team Finalist in Solar Decathlon Design

Twelve McCormick undergraduate students, 9 of whom are CEE majors and 3 are pursuing the new Architectural Engineering & Design minor, teamed up in Fall 2020 to pool their creative talents around Sustainable Building Design. The team, engiNUity, developed the design concept NUHome as their entry to the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2021 Design Challenge, a collegiate competition, challenging student teams to design highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The goal of the competition is to blend architectural design and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production and to prepare creative solutions for real-world issues in the building industry. Since its inception in 2002 the Solar Decathlon contests have been a driving force in raising awareness about clean energy and an intensive learning experience for students preparing them for the clean energy and sustainable building design workforce. 

NUHome shows the adaptable and sustainable future of the urban single family home. Centered in the heart of Chicago, NUHome shows how energy efficient homes can be versatile, marketable, comfortable, and economical. This ADU-ready home enables a more resource-conscious lifestyle to be accessible as well as plans for the changing future of the urban fabric through the building’s design. A fully contained living unit on the first floor of NUHome provides a space to extend family-housing, quarantine housing, or a space for owners as they age. This space, designed to be an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), prepares the home for the increased density of urban living and, diversifies the housing types in the area. The concepts behind the NUHome design can be applied to typical lots in Chicago and other urban neighborhoods.

A total of 103 teams entered the 2021 Design Challenge and engiNUity is one of 63 finalists.  They will present to industry-recognized jurors at the Virtual Solar Decathlon Competition Event, April 15-19, 2021.  The team members are pictured below.   Andrea Lin is the student lead and project manager. Christopher Banks, Robert Szymczyk, and Saahir Ganti-Agrawal are the subteam management leaders for Water, Architecture, and Energy respectively. Professor David Corr served as their faculty advisor and Farr Associates were design partners.

When asked to speak on the engiNUity team, Andrea Lin says “This experience so far has been full of learning for the whole team. This is most of the team's first experience with architectural design and sustainable building principles. Also, the team has operated in an entirely virtual setting; we have never met in person! I am very grateful that the team has been so willing to dive into something new to them and they have put a lot of hours into this project. We have also been incredibly fortunate to be working with Gabe Wilcox from Farr Associates who has acted as our 'client' in the project. This project wouldn't have evolved in the way it has without him!”

McCormick News Article