(Las Vegas, NV) — Whether it is the new city hall or the downtown transit center, Las Vegas is becoming greener every day. Now, some UNLV students are getting into the fray as part of an international competition.

Desert Sol is a house that 60 UNLV students are building as part of the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

The house is designed to respond to the climate of the Mojave Desert by using natural resources.

The Solar Decathlon is a competition with the goal of educating the public about energy-saving residential designs. 20 teams will design, build and maintain sustainable solar-powered houses. “Team Las Vegas” will have to meet all building codes and standards as any other construction projects as well as many other restrictions. Below are some of the goals of the project.

• No emission of green house gasses
•Infinite energy for free (after initial costs)
•Living off of the grid
•Protecting the eco-system
•Low maintenance
•Renewable Energy
•Power electrical units (appliances, pools, water heaters, indoor/outdoor lights)
•Create more energy than you actually use for your home
•Your home will have electricity even if the power goes out
•Solar technology is constantly improving
•Stupendous financial benefits in the long run

“The house will have to run entirely on its own power. Also, the hot water is obviously for cooking and showering, but it also supplies an under floor radiant heating system. That is a much more efficient way of heating than having blowing air inside the home,” says Eric Weber, Principal Investigator, UNLV School of Architecture.

The project will cost $320,000 to build Desert Sol and $750,000 is the overall budget which includes transportation to travel. Funding for the project is through the Department of Energy, UNLV and donations.

After construction is complete the home will be towed to Irvine, California for the competition October 3-13. The home will then return to Las Vegas.

“The house is actually going to be permanently installed at the Springs Preserve as one of its permanent exhibits,” says team member Alexia Chen

To learn more about the project visit any of the links below.


Team Las Vegas is fundraising and accepting material donations. You can learn how by visiting http://solardecathlon.unlv.edu/sponsorship.


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