This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 27, 2011

Middlebury Students Practice 'Self-Reliance' with U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 House

Located in Vermont's Champlain Valley, with the Green Mountains to the east of campus and the Adirondacks to the west, Middlebury College seems like a naturally suited location for a U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 team. For decades, the school has made sustainability a priority, and it launched the first environmental studies major in the nation in 1965. Since then, new buildings built on campus incorporate energy-saving features and use sustainable and recycled materials. Middlebury's Franklin Environmental Center received a LEED Platinum award for its environmental design, and the school has committed to become carbon neutral by 2016. The campus also houses a new biomass plant, which boasts a gasification system that converts regionally grown wood chips into gas, which it then burns to provide steam for heating, cooling, hot water, and cooking throughout the campus.

With all of this focus on sustainability, it should come as no surprise that two years ago, architectural studies major Addison Godine and three other students created a proposal for the Solar Decathlon competition. Since then, the team has worked long hours together and grown to a group of more than 75 students from across 18 different majors. See the Energy Blog post.