Blog Archives

Ryan Dussault

I became involved with the Solar Decathlon because of the unique educational opportunity that affords student participants. Unlike traditional educational projects, this one is undertaken in a manner not unlike professional practice. This is what first arrested my attention and drew me to the project.

My primary work has been on kitchen designs, lighting and, most recently, writing the specifications for the project.

For me, the project is an opportunity to put Buffalo on the map not only as a city invested in sustainable building practices, but also in healthy and accessible food systems, and in the education of the next generation of young people who will take up these programs.

Leah Kiblin

Since being involved in the beginning stages of the Solar Decathlon and further focusing my education on ecological practices for my graduate studies, it was always an interest of mine to return to the project. Being a team member of GRoW Buffalo is not only a way for me to gain knowledge and experience unique to college curricula, but also allows me to contribute my skills to a much larger project with my colleagues and faculty.

I am involved with the design and modeling of the mechanical systems within the house which include: HVAC, plumbing, electrical and fire protection.

GRoW Buffalo is a great way to exhibit the possibilities of sustainable practices within the city. It is not only an educational opportunity for the students working on the project, but an opportunity to help engage and educate the community on the importance of the environment and self-sustainability.  As a Buffalo native, I am proud to help represent the university and city in such a positive way.

EunJin Shin

This project was the best opportunities for me to explore the field both as an civil engineering as well as an architecture student as the project integrates both perspectives very well.

I am involved in the engineering aspect of the project including calculation of the center of mass with the software SAP 2000.  I am also researching possible transportation methods to get the house from New York to California.

This project means a lot to me since it allows me to work on a sustainable project. Personally, this project has provided me a new way of thinking about nature-friendly buildings and structures which I appreciate a lot.

Pooja Bhatt

I was involved in the very early stages of the project and wanted to continue following the project through its process to finalization. This is a great opportunity as a student and as a university. It is a great accomplishment as well as a learning experience to work with colleagues and faculty to produce a building starting from concept design to completion and ultimately to construction.

I was initially appointed to overlook the overall performance of the GRoW Home in regards to efficiency and performance. I have been in charge of researching doors and windows according to these performance criteria as well as producing detail drawings and calculations that provide evidence of their efficiency. In addition to this, I have also been producing lighting analysis to aid in the design process.

Though I am not a Buffalo native, I have been a student here for my entire college career and GRoW Buffalo is a great achievement for the city and the university. GRoW Buffalo is a fantastic way to conclude my college career and apply the knowledge and skillsets I have gained over the years. GRoW Buffalo is a project that I will be honored to say I was a part of and continue to inform others in the future to gain recognition.

Praveen Iyer

Net-Zero Energy House is the future and it is at the forefront of delivering technology through sustainable means. I want to get involved, work in an interdisciplinary team and win the contest for the University at Buffalo.

I am specifically involved in the array design, energy/load calculation, house wiring, NEC/NFPA/OSHA code compliances, smart home monitoring system and lighting system.

Christopher Osterhoudt

I got involved to gain real-world, practical experience in green building design and construction, and to be able to see a project grow from conceptual design to a finished product marketed to the public.

I oversee the planning and organization of the team structure in order to ensure each discipline strives the hardest to work collaboratively and create the best possible project on time and on budget.  I’m directly involved with public outreach, recruitment, curricular integration, and sponsorship development as well as various aspects of the design including plan organization, exterior deck and lighting design, and window design and assembly.

GRoW Buffalo represents two major things to me.  First, it gives students the opportunity to collaborate and gain experience in a way they typically would not be able to in school – it bridges a significant gap between academia and the professional world.  Secondly, it engages the energy conservation as a broader topic about self-sufficiency, ranging from electrical consumption and production within a dwelling to the energy consumption inherent in food systems, and even the energy embodied within the life cycle of building materials.

Duane Warren

I was interested in exploring design methodologies and developing technologies that challenge current strategies on the architectural market. Designing sustainably is not simply bolting active systems such as PV panels onto a house; it is instead designing that house from the ground up to be lower impact through its operations and material life cycles. This is unique in that it gives students the opportunity to research, design, and then actually implement these ideas.

I am specifically involved with the architecture studio, continuing the legacy and core conceptual ideas of the project from its early design stages to the completion of the project.

GRoW Buffalo is about projecting a new way of living and building onto our city, educating our current and future builders. It is changing the way people think about living sustainably.

Joseph Tuberdyck

I wanted to get involved because I saw this project as an opportunity to learn.  His background in construction allows me to practice my skills, and create something that represents my individuality, the university, and the city of Buffalo, NY.

I currently oversee the construction process, from time of initial assembly in Buffalo through the final resting point after the competition.  I am directly involved in the structural design, as well as various aspects including plan of construction sequence, exterior deck design, lighting, rain screen, window design, and assembly.

GRoW Buffalo is a representation of the collaboration of students across various majors coming together to design and plan.  It speaks volumes when students build strong design, while simultaneously applying it to real life circumstances.  I am one piece of the puzzle, along with many others who are creating a perfect environment for hands-on learning with multiple disciplines.  While the efficiencies and innovations in regards to solar energy and sustainable building are being carried out, the collaborative effort makes this project, a true representation of resilience and dedication of SUNY at Buffalo students and the residents of Buffalo.

Ian Farneth

I got involved with UB’s GRoW Home project for a number of reasons. First, I believe that renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, solar thermal, and any other carbon neutral technology is what the future should run on. I also had an interest in learning how to work within an interdisciplinary team in order to better understand how to effectively design renewable energy systems for buildings and other practical means. Lastly, I would someday like to live in a net zero home that can produce its own food year-round. This project seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about how these technologies can be used for a private residence, so that I may be able to someday design and build my own house that will help our world.

My responsibility within the GRoW Home project primarily involves management of the engineering team and advisement on engineering-related technology for the rest of the team. The engineering projects for the GRoW Home include basic mechanical, electrical, and plumbing layout and design, photovoltaic system design, efficient lighting design, solar- and geothermal HVAC design, and much more. In addition to management, I have taken a personal role and interest in developing the electrical system layout.

This project is an opportunity for students such as myself to get involved with a real sustainable housing design and construction process. It has brought students from a wide range of disciplines such as architecture, engineering, and management to work on a single project together. In addition to this, all of the students involved have a real interest in seeing this project succeed. So it is exciting to come in and work on the project each day.

I also believe that renewable energy technology and independent food production are the two most important areas of technology that should be explored and developed for the future of the planet. With the food and energy problems facing the world such as shortages, inefficiency, waste, and CO2 increases, these problems must be addressed by applying more sustainable technology practices from all disciplines. I feel that this project is a great way for not only the students involved, but UB’s staff, Buffalo’s community, and Solar Decathletes of other schools to spread the ideas and concepts of sustainable building design and show that it really works.

Matthew Kreidler

I was recommended for the construction manager position by a fellow student and friend who graduated from the previous Solar Decathlon studio.  After looking into the studio and the next steps they would be taking in design, I knew that this would a place where I could get real experience.

I am involved in organizing the construction efforts, checking drawings to be realistic and buildable, and making sure the quality of the finished GRoW Home matches the effort put into its design.

GRoW Buffalo, to me, is the venue where students can promote energy conscious design, while building their skills as professionals.  The collaboration, real-life experience, and execution of the project are invaluable attributes that keep me working hard and contributing all I can to make this home a reality.