The spring 2018 semester laid the groundwork to achieve one of Localizing Buffalo’s Renewable Energy Future three main objectives: to establish the Clean Energy Center on UB’s campus as an exemplary model of a solar powered community space by permanently installing the GRoW Home to serve as the base of operations for our Localizing initiative. Permanently siting the GRoW Home, within internationally renowned landscape architect, Walter Hood’s 750 kW Solar Strand on UB’s North Campus will serve to leverage the region’s commitment to solar energy and highlight our ability to successfully generate solar power as well as creating a multi-faceted space that invites the community in thereby creating one of the most publicly accessible renewable energy landscapes in the country.
The GRoW (Garden, Relax, or Work) Home was the University at Buffalo’s groundbreaking and innovative submission to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathalon . The DOE Decathlon is an international competition held every two years where the top collegiate teams are invited from around the world to design, build, operate, and market an ultra-efficient clean energy home. The competition challenges teams to develop a sustainable project that performs well in 10 individual contests, ranging from Architecture and Engineering excellence, to Market Potential and Energy Performance. UB’s 2015 team was comprised of over 200 students, faculty from 13 different departments across 5 separate schools, and from 2 universities who came together to develop a comprehensive proposal to represent Buffalo on an international stage. Through this extremely rare opportunity, the students are able to work in a highly collaborative and vastly interdisciplinary fashion to gain real world experience through a common objective, all before graduating. In this manner, the GRoW home served as an ideal model to bridge the gap between research-based academia and practice-based industry and demonstrate low-energy living to the campus and greater community.
Through the funding received from REV and other sources, the GRoW Home will be permanently housed on UB's North Campus leveraging the award winning Solar Strand. However, prior to its permanent placement on UB’s North Campus, the GRoW Home has been installed on UB’s South Campus in exhibition mode for the 2018-19 academic year. The 1,100-square-foot structure is sited behind Hayes Hall, the home to UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. During its tenure on UB’s South Campus the GRoW home will provide classroom and small event space. It will become a student engagement space for direct or curricular and experiential learning activities related to clean energy. It will also be used for a meeting space for sustainability oriented groups on campus, as well as local non-profits focused on clean energy. Continuing the educational dimension of the GRoW Home, the house will also be opened to K-12 schools, as well as college students outside UB, professional organizations, and community groups for tours and events.
The GRoW will be relocated to its permanent location on UB North Campus Solar Strand during the spring and summer of 2019. This process will include:
Solar Decathlon Competition: Fall 2015
Building returned to UB South Campus and stored: Winter 2015/16
Planning and Scheduling for Exhibition Relocation Begins: October 2016
Student OSHA Training Completed and Construction Fence Erected: February 2017
Authorization from School of A&P for Fall Studio for Permanent Siting: March 2017
Exhibition Permit for Relocation Issued and Construction Underway: April 2017
Fall Studio Recruitment: May 2017
Fall Studio Preparation, Planning & Research: June-July 2017
Fall Permanent Siting Studio: Sept-December 2017
Exhibition Construction Completed and Certificate of Compliance Issued: September 2018
Exhibition Building Activated for Tours and Meeting Space: September 2018
Detailed Installation Plan Developed (Permanent): May 18-January 2019