Posts Tagged ‘construction’

Badasses of Stanford: Derek Ouyang and Stanford Solar Decathlon

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Initial concept renderings of Stanford Solar Decathlon’s practical yet beautiful Start.Home design.

This week we caught up with Derek Ouyang, ’13, Project Manager of Stanford’s first Solar Decathlon team.

How would you summarize Solar Decathlon in a sentence?

Solar Decathlon is an international competition to design the home of the future, and Stanford is going to win.

Who or what inspired you to start a Solar Decathlon team at Stanford?

Taylor Brady (’13) came up with the idea of putting together a Stanford proposal to compete last Spring. It didn’t make sense to us that Stanford has never competed in such an awesome competition. We submitted last November and received word from the U.S. Department of Energy this past January that we were one of 20 international teams selected to compete next October in Irvine, CA.

What kind of faculty / departmental support do you have?  Where could you use more support?

We have support from almost every department in the School of Engineering and committed faculty advisors as well. We recently got the d.school on board in a major way, helping us move from an engineering design approach to a more human-centered approach. We are starting to get support from the Communications Department and Graduate Business School to help us with marketing and sponsorship, and could definitely use more talented students from these areas.

From a big picture perspective, what do you consider the greatest potential impact of a project like Solar Decathlon?  

From the very beginning we knew that we didn’t want to create a cool showcase house just for the competition — we wanted to use this incredible opportunity to showcase a real industry-changing idea on an international stage. Our idea, called Start.Home, is a new kind of sustainable home module which can be mass-manufactured on an industrial scale and shipped all around the country to build the next generation of net-zero homes. We hope it’s an inspiration to industry, and already some of our supporters want us to build additional core modules for them — who knows, maybe it will become a business sooner than we think!

“Sustainability at the push of a button” – preliminary construction of a building core.

What has been the biggest challenge to the project so far?

Having 100+ people excited about the project is both a blessing and a curse — I spend nearly 40 hours a week just managing our huge team of at least a dozen subteams. But the point of this group is not to be exclusive — it’s really to reach out to our school and engage as many people as possible in sustainability education and an incredible hands-on design project. I just wish sometimes that we didn’t have to go to so many classes on the side.

What has most surprised you about the process?

I’ve been surprised by how much support we’ve gotten from various groups at Stanford and beyond. Sustainable Stanford, VPUE, and the Precourt Institute of Energy are major donors for our project. We were able to get a temporary construction site right by the Terman fountain from March to September of next year from Stanford, and two schools are looking to sponsor the home post-competition. Intel and Bosch are big corporate sponsors, and alumni have been incredibly supportive through donations and networking. We always thought that the idea of students building a net-zero home would interest the community, but we never expected this much feedback and energy. We can’t wait to see what happens once we finally break ground on campus in March! (more…)

New SEQ Changes the Face of Stanford Engineering

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Artist's rendition of the final SEQ design

Stanford has always been the West Coast’s tech Mecca.  Finally, with the advent of new Science & Engineering Quad (SEQ), we’re actually starting to look like it, too.  A decade in the making, the SEQ has blessed Stanford’s techiest with an appropriately grand tribute to Stanford’s world-renowned School of Engineering as well as the amazing facilities needed to maintain and enhance that reputation.

Why the new SEQ?  According to Dean Plummer (SoE) and representatives from the Stanford Challenge, the massive new facilities will enable engineers to work alongside researchers from a variety of fields to solve “large-scale, systems-oriented problems,” focusing on those in medicine, energy and the environment, and national security.  With four new buildings and impressive underground laboratories, the SEQ has the space and the state-of-the-art resources to make Stanford’s vast interdisciplinary goals a reality.

Here’s a layman’s guide to all that is awesome about the new SEQ!

Huang Engineering Center:

Stanford's new center for all things tech

Weighing in at a whopping 130,000 square feet, Huang Engineering is the centerpiece of the impressive new techie stomping grounds.  Huang is the new home to the SoE administration, the MS&E Department , and the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, and its high-tech, 300-seat NIVIDIA Auditorium already hosts some of the more popular CS and MS&E lectures on campus.  Huang is physically attached to Y2E2 via a second floor corridor and is also connected to all the other SEQ buildings via various underground labs and tunnels!  Did someone say University-condoned steam-tunneling?!  That’s right, my fellow engineers, we don’t even have to go outside anymore!  Not that I’d personally recommend a subterranean lifestyle, as Huang boasts a series of majestic terraces and trellises with impressive views of the Main Quad. (more…)