Cenovus donates $600,000 to student-led solar home project

Jun 21, 2011 12:30 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) June 21, 2011 - A University of Calgary student-led team building a solar-powered home for a high-profile international competition has received $600,000 in backing from Cenovus Energy.

Cenovus is joining Team Canada’s project as title sponsor of the custom-built solar home, newly named the “Cenovus TRTL.”

“We’re proud to sponsor Team Canada as they embark on this challenging project that may offer solutions to real world energy and housing issues,” says Judy Fairburn, Cenovus Executive Vice-President, Environment & Strategic Planning.  “These young innovators are taking a creative approach to addressing social needs through technology.”

The team is building the Cenovus TRTL modular home at the University of Calgary campus behind the Child Development Center along 24th Avenue.  The completed 1,000-square-foot home will be taken apart in the fall and shipped to the National Mall, West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., where it will be reassembled, put on public display and judged at the popular Solar Decathlon competition taking place September 23 to October 2, 2011.

Team Canada is a collaborative effort led by the Faculty of Environmental Design, drawing support also from students in the Schulich School of Engineering and the Haskayne School of Business. Over 60 students, professors and community leaders have participated in designing the sustainable and culturally inspired TRTL.

“We are very pleased to have Cenovus as a title sponsor for the University of Calgary Solar Decathlon project,” said Bob Ellard, the university’s Vice-President of Facilities Management & Development. “This student-led initiative speaks volumes to the talent and energy of our students, so it is gratifying to have Cenovus recognize the important role our students play in the ever changing housing and energy fields.”

The Solar Decathlon, sponsored mainly by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance the use of solar technologies in residential housing, takes place every two years at a ‘solar village’ created on the National Mall, West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Twenty teams from around the world vie to design, build and operate the most energy-efficient solar-powered home in the event, which attracts upwards of 150,000 visitors and widespread media attention.

Post-secondary students participating in the Solar Decathlon get invaluable hands-on experience, not just in design and engineering but also in business management, fundraising, marketing, communications and logistics. New knowledge created by the students over the last two years will be integrated into academic programs in the future.  

This is the second time University of Calgary students have taken part in the Solar Decathlon. The first entry in 2009, SolAbode, was well received by the jury and bested numerous returning competitors to place 6th out of 20 teams. The SolAbode received the Alberta Emerald Award in the Youth Category, the Calgary Award for Environmental Excellence, and will live on as a showcase for distributed energy in Western Canada.

Team Canada’s entry addresses critical issues in Aboriginal housing, in collaboration with the Treaty 7 First Nations of Southern Alberta. Green building and cultural design drivers are integrated, resulting in a healthy, safe, durable, and affordable net-zero home that responds to unique values and interests.

The result is TRTL: Technological Residence Traditional Living. This unique celebration of cultural diversity will provide competitive advantage, making Team Canada’s the most memorable house on the National Mall. 

For more information about Team Canada, visit: www.solardecathlon.ca 

For more information about the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, visit: www.solardecathlon.org   

Cenovus Energy Inc. is a Canadian oil company. It is committed to applying fresh, progressive thinking to safely and responsibly unlock energy resources the world needs. Operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta, which use specialized methods to drill and pump the oil to the surface, and established natural gas and oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company also has 50% ownership in two U.S. refineries. For more information, visit www.cenovus.com.

The University of Calgary is a comprehensive research university that is ranked top 10 in Canada for research income, fundraising, endowment, research competitions and national awards. The University of Calgary has 1,800 academic staff actively engaged in research, scholarship and teaching in Canada and around the world, and more than 2,900 staff. The university is one of the largest employers in Calgary and produces an economic impact of $1 billion in the Calgary area alone. There are 29,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs and 140,000 alumni have graduated in the last 44 years. High-priority areas of research at the University of Calgary include energy and the environment, biomedical engineering and public policy. Multidisciplinary research is core to the university’s teaching and research mandate. For more information, visit: www.ucalgary.ca