For the West Virginia University and University of Rome Tor Vergata team, which is competing for the second straight time in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015, planning makes perfect.

At least that’s what the team hopes for STILE – Sustainable Technologies Integrated in a Learning Experience – which currently looks like a shell of a house.

“It might not look like much right now, but it will be,” said Sharrafti Kuzmar, a senior computer science and electrical engineering major from Morgantown.

The house, inspired by Roman architecture thanks to WVU’s collaboration with UTV, was put together in Morgantown, but many parts, including windows that make three of the homes’ walls, flooring, cabinets and appliances, will be placed into the house for the first time when the structure makes it to Irvine, California, for the start of the rebuild process on September 28. The competition, which features 17 teams, will take place October 8–18, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

“We wanted to build what we could modularly in Morgantown so we knew exactly how much time it takes to set up, which will help us rebuild,” said Kuzmar. “However we didn’t want to run the risk of placing the floor and other key products in the house that would have to stand the test of shipping and construction.”

Instead, the team practiced putting the floor down, hanging solar panels on the roman-inspired arch and devised a detailed construction plan so that when the time comes, each team member knows exactly what’s expected of them and how to do it.

“We have prepared and prepared for the competition and we feel really confident in our ability to get the house built well and quickly,” said Stefania Rossi, a senior civil engineering and architecture student at UTV. “The whole house is smart, but the smartest factor is its modularity.”

The team, made up of 20 WVU students and 10 UTV students, will spend the weekend breaking down what’s currently built and organizing it onto trucks. On Wednesday, September 23, the house will make the long haul to California.

Twenty six members of the team, plus faculty advisors, will meet up with the house on Saturday, September 26. The rest of the students will join the group toward the end of the competition to help with decorating it and providing tours during the competition.

While the team is excited to see STILE come together, they are still in need of the finishing touches for their house. Smart, environmentally designed furniture is still needed as well as donations to fund operational expenses. For more information, visit WVU Solar Decathlon’s crowdfunding website,

“We have worked really hard to make this house a reality, and it’s finally coming together,” said Kuzmar. “We’re excited to get out to California and prove how great our house is and just what Mountaineers can do.”



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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