Chapman University will help to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 
Solar Decathlon
on Saturday at the Great Park in Irvine, California as a part of
Team Orange County
. The competition challenges universities across the country to design and build houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.


3D render of exterior of Casa del Sol

Team OC is comprised of students from Chapman, UCI, Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College, but the competition overall features a much wider geographic range of students. Teams from Northern California, Texas, Missouri, New York and many other locations across America will also be competing.

“This truly is an historic moment,” said Jim Doti, President of Chapman University. “When we can bring a collaborative team like this together, great things can happen. It could be the model for how we tackle other problems that face our community, our nation and our planet.”


Interior design of living room featuring adjustable walls

Team OC’s submission to the competition is Casa del Sol, a solar powered, zero net energy and multigenerational home ideal for Southern California. Case del Sol features innovative, Southern California-inspired design strategies: the house opens and closes to the sun for shading and ventilation and has adjustable walls to change room size for various uses.

“We are extremely proud that Team Orange has been selected for this important competition,” said Chapman University Chancellor, Daniele Struppa. “Chapman’s mission emphasizes the importance of educating global citizens, and I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to demonstrate this to our students.”

Several Chapman students serve as team leaders for Team OC: Camy Jun, Chief Marketing Officer; Kyle Decker, Documentary/Co-Director/Editor; and Lotus Thai, Head of Events & Media Relations.

“This project has given me the opportunity to learn outside of the traditional classroom,” Thai said. “After two years of hard work, it’s really exciting to see the house come to life! I still can’t believe that this is actually happening and I cannot wait for everyone to come tour our home.”

Thai, an Environmental Science & Policy major, is one of many students representing Schmid College with a strong involvement in the project. Below is a full list of Schmid College students participating in the Solar Decathlon 2015:

  • Clayton Heard, Environmental Science & Policy
  • Lotus Thai, Environmental Science & Policy
  • Sara Wanous, Environmental Science & Policy
  • Hannah Francis, Environmental Science & Policy
  • Kyvan Elep, Environmental Science & Policy
  • Kiyoko Nakatsui, Environmental Science & Policy
  • Alexandra Sidun, Environmental Science & Policy

Chapman will provide a free shuttle service to and from the Great Park,
click here for more information.