University of Calgary

Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House becomes permanent research facility at university

UToday HomeMay 3, 2013

On Thursday, the University of Calgary celebrated the grand opening of its newest research facility, the one-of-a-kind Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House.

Students designed and built this dome-shaped, 93-square-metre structure that features the latest in solar power technology. An array of 37 photovoltaic panels on the roof generates enough electricity for a typical family of four to cook, do laundry, shower and operate household appliances for an entire year. The house is net-zero, which means it produces as much electricity as it consumes.

The only Canadian entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C., the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House placed 10th out of 19 entries. The house will now serve as a hub for solar energy and sustainability research for students and faculty members, including David Wood, Enmax-NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Renewable Energy.

This interdisciplinary project involved students from several areas of the University of Calgary, including the Faculty of Environmental Design, the Schulich School of Engineering and the Haskayne School of Business.

“This was a multi-disciplinary project where students from different fields of study got to work together, and with members of our Aboriginal communities,” says Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). “The Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House will provide another means for the University of Calgary to contribute to and work with the community through research, teaching and service.”

In addition to being used for research, the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House will help the current Solar Decathlon team prepare for the 2013 competition by providing hands-on learning opportunities to test the efficiency of mechanical and solar systems to help plan future solar house projects.


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