The Queen’s Solar Design Team has partnered with students from Carleton University and Algonquin College to form Team Ontario, which was among the 20 collegiate Teams from around the world that were selected to compete in the U.S. Solar Decathlon 2013 in Irvine California. The competition challenges Teams to design build and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy efficient, and attractive. The competition is composed of 10 sub contests that take into account the affordability, market appeal, energy performance and design.

To mitigate the water draw from the limited water reservoirs available to Team Ontario a rain water capture system may be used to irrigate exterior vegetation would be desirable. In designing this system the students made an estimation of the system’s annual water collection and met specifications of non-water intensive plants that would be used for landscaping. Analyses were also conducted on irrigation feasibility, and on the water pressure as a function of elevation. The different possible designs were compared and chosen based on the criteria of innovation, reliability, architecture, market appeal, affordability, feasibility, environmental, and ergonomics. The system was aesthetically pleasing and presented practical solution to water collection, storage, and distribution.

The groups’ Project Manager contacted me to help clarify my role, and together we formed a scope of work for the students. I then presented the project to the groups, which entailed highlighting the engineering problem, all constraints and limitations, as well as setting my expectations of the group. From there it was really up to the students to do their research and come up with a solution. I was very impressed with what they were able to do, their professionalism, and by their desire to go up and above my expectations. By the end of the term all the groups had great designs and concepts, and professional reports.

– Joseph Lefaive (Queen’s Solar Design Team, Civil Manager), Client

rendering of house
Model of house with integrated irrigation system: large shed, visible rain barrels, and decorative garden.