The 2007 Solar Decathlon Competition

Combining an MBA with architecture can create some bright accomplishments.

Joe Simon (’07 BS, Architectural Studies and minor in Business), who is currently pursuing  a joint MBA and master of architecture degree, was one of 200 University of Illinois students and faculty advisors participating in an international competition to build a 100 percent solar powered house.

Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the 2007 Solar Decathlon pits top universities such as M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and others from around the world against each other to gain knowledge that will ultimately help reduce the cost of solar-powered homes and advance solar technology.

Elementhouse, as the Illinois modular home is known, held an open house in September and will be transported in early October to the national mall in Washington, D.C. to compete against 19 other houses from universities around the world. In late October, the house will be disassembled and moved to Chicago where it will be on display in the backyard of the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT).  Elementhouse will finally return to University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana campus to serve as a research facility.

The winner gets the opportunity to make a presentation at Greenbuild, the world’s largest exposition dedicated to green building, to be held Nov. 7-9, in Chicago. The conference is held annually by the U.S. Green Building Council, developers of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the national benchmark for high performance in green buildings.

Simon became involved in the project during fall semester, 2007 in order to use the knowledge he was soaking up pursuing architecture and business. “I was intrigued by the chance to apply some of principles I was learning to create something useful and practical,” he said. “It’s truly the best experience that I’ve had at the University of Illinois.”

At approximately 500 square feet, with an additional 250 square feet of deck, everything concerned with the house was carefully chosen for energy efficiency