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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
August 2, 2005

Carnegie Mellon Schools of Architecture and Design Participate In "Pittsburgh Synergy" for Solar Decathlon Competition

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's schools of Architecture and Design are collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in a joint project called "Pittsburgh Synergy" for this fall's Solar Decathlon Competition. The competition will take place Oct. 7-16 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This is the second Solar Decathlon in which the Carnegie Mellon schools of Architecture and Design have participated.

"Pittsburgh Synergy" is one of 18 collegiate teams from the United States, Europe and Canada to be selected by the event's sponsor, the United States Department of Energy, to participate in this year's competition. Each team is required to design and build a home that generates enough energy from the sun to power a household, home-based business and other transportation needs.

"The most challenging aspect of architecture is the translation from an idea to a design, then resolving how to build it and then actually building it," said Stephen Lee, professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon. "In architecture school, you usually get only as far as the design phase. The Solar Decathlon is an important part of an architectural education at Carnegie Mellon because it embodies the process of moving from an idea to realization."

The Pittsburgh Synergy House is modeled after the Zero-Energy House concept. Energy is created on site to match the amount of energy used from a power grid on an annual basis. The house, built with an aesthetically pleasing exterior and interior, tilts toward the southern sun for efficiency. The team chose some materials that are native to the region and some that are naturally renewable, and is using advanced building technologies for an energy-efficient, healthy house. The winning team is chosen based on the number of points compiled in 10 contest categories.

Following the competition, the Pittsburgh Synergy House will return to the Carnegie Mellon campus as the new home for the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research (SEER).

The School of Architecture and School of Design are two of the five schools within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into Architecture, Art, Design, Drama, Music, associated centers and programs.

For more information on the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture or School of Design, visit: For more information on the College of Fine Arts, contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765.


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