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Appalachian State’s Solar Decathalon Team ‘Maison Reciprocite’ To Kick Off Construction Next Month

Photo by Madison V. Fisler
Solar Decathlon headquarters, located at 1100 East King Street.
Photo by Madison V. Fisler

by Madison V. Fisler

Aug. 22, 2013. In 2011, Appalachian State University took on competitors from all over the nation in Washington, D.C., to show the world their take on sustainable living and solar-dependent housing. 

This time, Appalachian State University and the Université d’Angers in France have teamed up in a dual effort for Solar Decathlon Europe to become team ‘Maison Reciprocite,’ or in English, Reciprocity House. In 2014, students from Appalachian State will travel across the pond to Versailles, France to showcase their new sustainably built and powered take on sustainable living. 

This year’s project is a monster. When all is said and done, over 1,000 students from both universities will complete a 1,500 square foot multiple story space, which will house commercial, residential, green. and ‘flex’ space.

Constructed here in Boone, the structure will be built, tested, disassembled, packaged and shipped all the way to Europe, where a team of 30 will rebuild the entire structure in just ten days. With limited time, manpower and resources, the team will put their structure back together in order to be judged and critiqued during the competition.

Appalachian State University's entry to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. Photo by Rebecca Mullins
Appalachian State University’s entry to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Rebecca Mullins

“The U.S. competition focuses on stand alone homes,” said Mark Bridges, a graduate assistant and communications manager working with the team.

“Solar Decathlon: Europe focuses on technology and how the structure would work in a dense urban environment.”

The idea for the “Maison Reciprocite” is a multiple story structure, where one story would house commercial property, one would hold habitable spaces, and flex and greenspace would be included at the top.

“We are proposing a ’24-hour’ community,” Bridges said. 

“Our vision is to promote this idea of a community and spur change from the community model that we already have. The green space on the top floors would be connected to the neighboring structures in that community, to help it build. We also want to promote alternative transportation with this too.”

From their website:

Members of Team Réciprocité look toward creating a more social and sustainable community and have made substantial progress defining design goals, technical parameters, and opportunities for discovery in this new, joint-venture project.

Did you know that the sun from an average day in N.C. can power a Wii for 48 hours? Photo by Madison V. Fisler
Did you know that the sun from an average day in N.C. can power a Wii for 48 hours?
Photo by Madison V. Fisler

Team “Maison Reciprocite” is also one of the only teams competing in the Solar Decathlon which is not government subsidized. All of the funds for this project are raised entirely by the team, or generously donated by sponsors and community members.

“We want to give a huge thank you to all of the sponsors who have made this project possible,” said Bill Pfleger, co-project manager.

“Just being allowed to participate in this competition is an honor. We have seen so much support from our community, and a huge amount of student effort. One thing we pride ourselves in is that this is completely done by students, and it’s not just sustainable development and construction. So many students have been involved, whether its developing smart phone apps, music, art, and even the business school. We have had more than eight departments involved in some way, and our goal is to have 1,000 students contribute.”

Construction on the structure is scheduled to begin in a few weeks. For more information on Team “Maison Reciprocite,” please click here

For more information about Solar Decathlon: Europe, click here