21 June 2003 

TOOL DAY at the
Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems / University of Texas School of Architecture


A Vital Signs Tool day was scheduled for Saturday, 21 June 2003 at the Center For Maximum Potential Building Systems (CMPBS) in Austin, Texas. This Tool Day allowed participants to become familiar with the Solar Decathlon House and gain hands-on experience measuring aspects of its performance such as photovoltaic power, ice battery cooling, daylighting, thermal comfort, visual comfort, and air movement.

The Solar Decathlon House was part of a national forum for competition among student teams, each of which designed, built, and operated an 800-square-foot, totally solar-powered home with a home office (including the transportation needs of the home and office). Michael Garrison from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas and Pliny Fisk from CMPBS directed the Solar Decathlon Project.

The Decathlon was sponsored by the US Department of Energy, with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the American Institute of Architects, EDS, Home Depot, and BP Solar. The competition focused on solar photovoltaic energy production, energy- efficiency, design with climate, thermal comfort, refrigeration efficiency, lighting efficiency, sustainable building materials, the operation of a home office, and transportation needs using a solar charged electric vehicle.

The UTSOA/CMPBS design features a flexible, modular, reusable kit of parts that sits lightly on the land and forms the superstructure around a mobile utility environment. The “open systems” design was intended to show how a mobile environment could be expanded and adapted to a specific site and then modified for the needs of a different site in another climatic zone.

Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE) members, American Solar Energy Society (ASES) members, university students, and professional architects and engineers are encouraged to participate in this third annual Tool Day held in conjunction with the ASES annual conference. 

    Co-Sponsored by: the Agents of Change project and the Society of Building Science Educators.

 27 March 2003

  Organized by: Michael Garrison University of Texas, Alison Kwok University of Oregon, Walter Grondzik Florida A&M University, and Bruce Haglund University of Idaho.