s.ky blue information

The Solar Decathlon is a project of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in partnership with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

s.ky blue blog spot


Welcome to the S•KY BLUE blog spot! We'll be keeping you updated on what's going on with our team as the competition continues. Don't forget to check in daily for updates and new photos.

11.02.2010: s.ky blue to be featured at half-time at the 11.05.10 UKY basketball game

A piece about the UK Solar House and its ongoing benefits for students and faculty will air tonight at halftime of the live telecast of the UK men’s basketball live telecast of FRIDAY NIGHT, NOVEMBER. 5 on BBSN/FSN (locally on WKYT) –and Fox Sports South. Game time is 7 p.m. – The piece should air at approximately 7:45-7:50 p.m., give or take a few minutes.

10.20.2010: live.light press release from ORO editions hits the mainstream

Live.Light authored by Gregory Luhan creates a permanent and long-lasting record of the University of Kentucky’s achievement and success at the 2009 Solar Decathlon. The full-color, 8”x8.5”, 92-page publication includes an introduction by University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd, Jr. a foreword by Paul Kaplan, essays by Donald Colliver and Gregory Luhan that capture the team’s synergy, its creativity, its collaboration, and its lessons learned, and an Afterword by Michael Speaks. This writing couples with a series of stunning photographic images, renderings, and drawings that depict the s•ky blue solar house throughout Washington, DC and on the UK campus Main Lawn.

The book features a dust-jacket designed to commemorate the use of the house as the Visitor’s Center for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This publication serves not only as a an in-depth description of Kentucky’s entry to the 2009 event, but also as a tool for visitors, community, and corporate leaders that demonstrates the powerful capacity of design innovation in terms of renewable energy.

It tells the UK team’s story to readers around the world and portrays the essence of the house—from concept to competition.

10.20.2010: s.ky blue returns to campus

The solarhouse complete with police escort made its way back from the Kentucky Horse Park. The house moved to the UK campus at the intersection of Nicholasville Road and Farm Road near the gluck Equine Center. Overe the next few days crews will situate the house for continued research.

10.14.2010: future s.ky blue team attends PEIK short course

The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) offered its first short course last Thursday, entitled "Introduction to Renewable Energy." It was taught by Dr. Paul Dolloff, of EKPC and Adjunct Faculty member in the UK Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering and s.ky blue team collaborator.

The course provided an overview of renewable energy technology and outlined the basic principles of solar electricity, wind power electric generation, micro-hydro electric generation, and their application in Kentucky. Further information about the short course is available at the PEIK website.

10.10.2010: at the weg - day 16: the WEG ends-10,000 kwh produced in only 25 days!

The 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games ended today with the closing ceremonies featuring a one-hour long concert by Lyle Lovett. At the close of the ceremonies the final energy counting of energy produced from 09/15-10/10/10 yeilded nearly 10,000 KWh (enough to power 5 average homes in Kentucky). Wow!

10.09.2010: at the WEG

With only one day remaining at the WEG, the house continues to shine. Over 4,000 visitors from all of the world including thousands from Kentucky toured the house today. It has been interesting to see and to hear the many folks that have visited the house earlier in the games returning with their spouses, significant others, or school childeren with their parents as they give their own tours of the house. Many of the children or adult chaperons had toured the house through generous contributions of Alltech (the title sponsor for the 2010 games). The excitedment of touring the house brought their families in to see the creative ingenuity of the students from UK.

10.06.2010: at the weg - urban online

Urbanfarm Online conducted an interview with faculty and students from the University of Kentucky who built a solar house for the 2009 Solar Decathlon with sustainability and liveability in mind. The video segments will posted today 06 October 2010 on their website.

10.05.2010: at the weg

Heading into the second weekend of the event, the Herald-Leader again promotes accolades for the house. The team also releases "A Sunny Welcome from UK" by Whitney Hale.

The WEG provides a wonderful opportunity to share UK research with an international community. "The world comes to us in Lexington," says Gregory Luhan, one of the co-principal investigators behind the solar house. "If we can use our house as the visitor center and broadcast our message to the world, it would be an easy way to take what we do in the Commonwealth and show our innovation, our ideas."

Co-principal investigator Don Colliver agrees. "Here we are taking that research and teaching we have developed, and taking it to the people of the Commonwealth and beyond. That is one of the reasons we are taking it to the World Equestrian Games, to show that we have within the Commonwealth the ability to do things that are really cutting-edge."

09.30.2010: at the weg

The Lexington Herald-Leader posted today "UK Solarhouse one of the Gems of the World Equestrian Games"! What an exciting endorsement. Additional signage was placed outside of the house today clearly identifying the house as the "solar house". Over 3,000 people toured the house today including many school children who were admitted to the Kentucky Horse Park through generous support of the Dr. Lyons and Alltech. The house has become a second home to many Eupoeans and visitors from South Africa, Austrailia, New Zealand, and Canada. We're not sure how many visitors are coming from those countries but they seemed to at number the folks from Kentucky. Everyone commented on the quality design and how legible all of the architectural/engineering moves were integrated.

09.27.2010: at the weg

Not so solar today, the temperatures dropped to 43 degrees with blistering wind and rain. Just like the solar decathlon event. Hmm, eerily too similar. Hoping for better conditions throughout the week.

09.25.2010: at the weg - day 01 - let the games begin

From today through October 10th, the house will serve as an entry threshold to the 2010 WEG event. The 16-day event started today under beautiful conditions-sunny skies an a warm breeze. Over 1000 people toured the house today. Most were interested in seeing what the students had developed for the event. Many had heard about the house and the Solar Decathlon but had never seen it is person. It felt the 2009 event all over again. Tours begin at 8:00am and end at 7:00pm.

09.15.2010: s.ky blue house gets grid connected starts producing power

The house connects to the Horse Park Power Grid!

09.12.2010: commerative dust jackets for the live.light publication produced

Stephen Patton, Laurie Fields, and Gregory Luhan arrange for photographs of the s.ky blue house while the house is situated at the Kentucky Horse Park. Luhan and Patton collaborated to design the cover shots for the book which features the house at sunrise and at sunset. Working with Gabe Ely and Usana Shadday of ORO Editions, the commerative dust jacket also features the original name of the house: 38 degrees north. The placeline developed for the inaugural BBGG (Big Blue Goes Green Sustainability Showcase) was also integrated along with the team's buzz words to form a backdrop for Luhan's introductory essay to the project. The photos taken by Steve Patton reflect the everchaning conditions of the house throughout the day.

08.08.2010: at the horse park

In 2010 the games leave Europe for the first time and come to the United States to the Kentucky Horse Park where, for the first time, Para Dressage, the newest FEI Discipline will be competed together with the other seven.

08.05.2010: s.ky blue moves to Kentucky horse park

One the road again . . . the s.ky blue solarhouse has left the campus!

07.28.2010: Live.light publication sent to printer

Needless to the say a huge burden has been lifted today as the final printed reviews for the Live.Light publication has left the building.

The publication was made possible throught the generous support of several contributorswhich enabled a elegant publication that captures the 2-year long project and its tangential research. President Lee Todd emailed "I had no idea how significant an undertaking this project was until I read the book. What a wonderful job that Greg has done to capture the efforts that he and Donnie led our 175 students through over the past few years. While the University of Kentucky has led this charge, I really feel that this project and publication belongs to the Commonwealth and has put us on a trajectory for great things to come in the very near future".

07.22.2010: governor's scholars program visits the house

Students and faculty from Centre College's Governor's Scholar program visited the house today along with faculty from Transylvania University's Sustainability divison. The students in the Governor's Scholars are the brightest in Kentucky and we look forward to their coming to UK to work on similar projects.

07.16.2010: Lexington convention and vistor's bureau surveys the house

At the 2010 Alltech FEI event the house will used at the Visitor's information center. To facilitate the transformation of the space into

07.15.2010: Live.light publication comments returned - 500 books pre-sold

Comments were received back form the publisher today. The comments will be revisited over the course of the next week and then responded to by the end of the month so that we can stay of track to receive the books prior to the WEG. In addition, Greg Luhan (Design) and Marci Hicks (Agriculture) have teamed up to increase efforts to support the book. Sponsorship continues to come in with nearly 500 books pre-sold to help cover the costs of printing thus far.

07.11.2010: u of l solar team discusses future collaboration

A full day of tours ended with a team of UL scientists and their students touring the house today. The tour was followed-up with a round-table discussion with the U of L solar team and discussions focused on future collaborations and partnerships in pursuing the the 2013 solar decathlon event.

06.30.2010: Live.light publication submitted for edits

Initially pitched as an 8”x8”, 64-page full-color book, it is becoming increasingly clear that there more to say about the house then can be presented in that manner. We are currently trying to keep it under 100 pages, without sacrificing quality or content. It looks like the target page count is 92 pages. The format of the book increased slightly to offer a more landscape layout which in turn gave us more surface area per page to design a really handsome publication. The manuscript was submitted to the editors today for copyediting and proof-reading.

06.01.2010: Live.light publication design begins

Work began in earnest to capture the creative potentials of the project while at the same time building upon the intellectual cpacity and the team's success in Washington. Gregory Luhan conducted interviews with President Todd, Paul Kaplan, Dean Michael Speaks, Scott Shearer, and Don Colliver to help frame their contributions. In addition, Luhan has been working with faculty and students aligned with the project to capture overarching quotes for the book. These comments will help support the project's extensive photographic documentation.

05.28.2010: Live.light publication accepted

To create a permanent and long-lasting record of the team’s achievement, Gregory Luhan, s.ky blue solar house co-team leader and College of Design faculty member, wrote a book proposal entitled: Live.Light - The University of Kentucky SKY blue solarhouse that he submitted in February 2010. The publisher accepted the proposal in May 2010 for full-scale publication and international distribution.

The publication will include an Introduction by President Lee T. Todd, Jr. a Foreword by Paul Kaplan, essays by Donald Colliver and Gregory Luhan that capture the team’s synergy, its creativity, its collaboration, and its lessons learned, and an Afterword by Michael Speaks.

This writing couples with a series of stunning photographic images, renderings, and drawings that depict the s.ky blue solar house throughout its design and construction processes, and its exhibition on the National Mall in Washington, DC and on the UK campus Main Lawn. The book is nearing design completion and will be printed and ready for distribution in time for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in late September 2010.

05.05.2010: solarhouse featured in Odyssey research journal

The s.ky blue solarhouse was featured in an 8-page article written by Alicia Gregory for Odyssey Magazine - UK's research journal.

“We achieved our goals,” Colliver says. “Making it into this competition is for engineers and architects what the Sweet 16 is to NCAA basketball teams. It’s huge! “My second goal was to score well in the net metering contest. We scored fifth. We achieved net zero. The numerical results are great, but they weren’t the only things we gained.”

“We designed a house that would succeed on the National Mall and have an immediate impact upon its return. Our design sets into play many of the philosophies of the original ‘green’ generation, the people that started the sustainability and recycling movements who are now in their 60s. We wanted to create a product that was desirable for both the 20-something and the 60-something. We took a trans-generational approach, with built-in adaptability and durable materials. Rather than having to do demolition to renovate your home as you age, the house adapts to you,” said Gregory Luhan.


04.28.2010: KY dedi visits the solarhouse

The Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI) toured the S•KY BLUE House today. The tour included presentations by Dean Thomas Lester (College of Engineering), Scott Shearer (College of Agriculture-BAE), Donald Colliver, Gregory Luhan, Dave Najewicz (GE), and Jim Pauley (Schneider Electric).

04.23.2010: uky first lady patsy todd and the women in philanthropy tour s.ky blue

The University of Kentucky First Lady, Patsy Todd, hosted a tour at the S•KY BLUE House today followed by a reception at Maxwell Place, the Presidential Residence. Recipients of the Women in Philanthropy scholarships were on hand for the tour. The evening concluded with a private concert at the Singletary Center.

The Women & Philanthropy program recognizes the essential and continuing role of women in the life and progress of the University of Kentucky, uniting them as leaders, donors, and advocates. We are bringing together women who want to make a difference by influencing their communities and future generations. The program engages women in philanthropy and education highlighting the research, nationally-acclaimed faculty, and dedicated students at UK.


04.22.2010: solar powered earth day celebration

The public is invited to celebrate a solar powered 40th Annual Earth Day today, April 22, at the University of Kentucky. As part of the Solar Powered Earth Day Celebration, people can explore various avenues of solar technology and research at the university.

UK College of Engineering and UK College of Design will welcome the general public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to tour its ninth place entry in the U.S. Department of Energy 2009 Solar Decathlon. The S•KY BLUE House currently resides on the lawn in front of the Main Building along Administration Drive.Students and faculty who were involved in the design and construction of this prototype home will be on-hand to answer your questions.

The UK solar car, Gato Del Sol III, will also be available for public inspection and viewing during these same hours. The university's solar car finished second last summer in the Formula Sun Grand Prix. Members of the UK Solar Car Team will be present to answer questions and brief the public on the technical and social aspects of designing, building and racing an automobile that requires no energy source other than the sun.

As the sun sets on Earth Day 2010, the Solar Powered Celebration continues with a special edition of Geek’s Night Out. At 6 p.m., the UK IEEE Solar Powered Robot team will exhibit their bot that competed in this year’s Southeastcon Hardware Competition in the atrium of Victorian Square, located at 401 W. Main Street, in downtown Lexington.


04.18.2010: the mulch arrives and the plantings set

Scott Shearer delivered two pallettes of mulch today in anticipation of students from the Department of Landscape Architecture setting up the planter beds. Professor Fields lead 10 students in this effort. The planting have matured since October, thanks in large part to the Department of Horticulture which transplanted and repotted all fo the plant materials.The 8"-10" plants showcased in Washington are now 36" tall and are expected to continue to grow to 48" and bloom in time for the WEG this October.

04.17.2010: the plants arrive . . . so does the frost

Professors Laurie Fields and Greg Luhan off loaded over 100 plants that will be hearty enough for the spring and summer seasons. Several others will remain in the greenhouses until fall so that they will be ready for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games. With a late spring frost expected tonight, the plants were stored inside of the dining room room and kitchen for protection. The plants will be inserted into the planting zones in the morning.

04.15.2010: 2011 solar decathlon competition slate is announced

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the 20 teams that will participate in Solar Decathlon 2011. Congratulations go to: Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina); Florida International University (Miami, Florida); Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, The University of Florida, and The University of South Florida (Tallahassee, Orlando, Gainesville, and Tampa, Florida); Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium); Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts); Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vermont); Old Dominion University and Hampton University (Norfolk and Hampton, Virginia); Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana); Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology (New Brunswick and Newark, New Jersey); The City College of New York (New York, New York); The New School and Stevens Institute of Technology (New York, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey); The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio); The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology (Los Angeles, California); The University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee); Tongji University (Shanghai, China); University of Calgary (Calgary, Alberta, Canada); University of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, Illinois); University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland); and Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington, New Zealand).

To view the models of the entries visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/solar_decathlon

04.10.2010: AIAs quad cities conference tour S•KY BLUE

The University of Kentukcy hosted the 2010 aias quad cities conference which included delegates from the region including Lawrence Tech, University of Detroit-Mercy, the University of Notre Dame, Andrews University, Ball State University, Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Tennesee, the University of Nebraska, Kansas State University, the University of Miami-Ohio, and the University of Southern Illinois-Carbondale among others. In total over 259 students toured the house today, including members of solar house teams vying for positions in the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

03.16.2010: uky house listed on decathlon wesbite - where are they now?

Today, the US Department of Energy listed the whereabouts of the 20 teams who competed in the 2009 Solar Decathlon. To link to the section - http://www.solardecathlon.gov/past/2009/where_now.cfm

03.15.2010: underground utilities installed

Today, the underground utilities were installed at the S•KY BLUE solarhouse. The below ground service now means that the orange construction fencing (in place since February) can now be removed and the house can sit majestically on the Main lawn with uninterrupted views.

03.05.2010: S•KY BLUE private tour to the UKY RMG group

Today, the University of Kentucky Vice-President for Research James Tracy, his staff, the Associate Deans for Research from across the University, the Office of Sponsored Project Administration, and others related to the Research Enterprise at UK toured S•KY BLUE. The hour long tour featured upper level discussions about all of the adaptable features of the home ranging from the chairs, roof, kitchen, to the office space.

Several side-bar discussions took place about integrating a wide array of research initiatives into the house and using the project as on-going research venue for the University community-at-large. We are looking into maintaining an open discourse about these possibilities.

03.01.2010: S•KY BLUE public tour day 2

Today, the S•KY BLUE tours included several faculty researchers from across campus, including the Colleges of Fine Arts, Engineering, Design,Horticulture, and Public Policy. A central theme focused on sustainability and the research opportunities that were now made apparent by having the house on the Main Lawn. We look forward to developing many of the research initiatives discussed today.

02.22.2010: S•KY BLUE public tours begin today

The first day, was a rainy day, but even with the bad weather, 24 people ushered through the first day of public tours of the UK solarhouse. The S•KY BLUE public tours run 10:00am-12:00pm, weekly on Mondays through April 26th.

02.20.2010: S•KY BLUE a vital part of at e-day

Over 7,000 visitors toured the S•KY BLUE House as part of UK's College of Engineering Day. E-Day, as it is affectionately known, is a celebration of the 21st-century engineering, research, and teaching at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. This year, E-day featured the S•KY BLUE solarhouse collaborative project. The solarhouse tours ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. BAE graduate student Drew Roberts said, "It felt like being on the National Mall during the Decathlon again - giving tours, meeting hundreds of people including dozens of grade school and high school students. Everyone sees the potential of this project. I was glad to be a part of such a wonderful experience." The steady stream of visitors witnessed the house as it was displayed in Washington DC, complete with the video developed by Zachary Lynn, who interned at the VisCenter this past fall. Congrats to the members of the S•KY BLUE team who got the house up and running for this event.

E-day is an annual event at UK which is sponsored by a coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies dedicated to promoting math and science literacy and ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce.

02.19.2010: live at a S•KY BLUE sunrise

WLEX-TV18 comedian and television personality and Live-at-Sunrise host Lee Cruse was at the house early this morning, early enough for a 5:30am wake-up call for the engineer students Ben Hobbs and Jeffrey Kellow. The 5-minute segment featured the innovative features for the UK solarhouse and served as the primary presentation stage for some of the venues that will featured at E-Day tomorrow. One of the exhibits is the KySat-1 satellite program developed by UK in collaboration with Kentucky Space.

02.11.2010: S•KY BLUE tours sign goes up on main building lawn

One month after the house landed on the Main Lawn, the team's construction sign announcing both public and private tours is now up! Congratulations!!!

The public tours begin on Monday, February 22nd and will run weekly on Mondays from 10:00am-12:00pm through the end of April. Private tours can be arranged as well. Please contact Greg Luhan at gregory.luhan@uky.edu to arrange for guided tours. But hurry, available sessions are filling up quickly!

01.26.2010: S•KY BLUE honored at the State of the merged government address

Mayor Jim Newberry singled out the UKY solarhouse team today and presented images to the nearly 500 people in attendance for the Mayor's State of the Merged Government Annual Address. Don Colliver was unable to attend, but the team was represented by Architectural team leader Greg Luhan. The 3-minute presentation inlcuded photographs, a project iverview, and the Mayor's personal commentary relating to his visit to the house in October.

Excerpts from Mayor Jim Newberry's 2010 State of the Merged Government Address: "In 2009, UK continued to grow as an incubator of high tech ideas and know-how. Last October, UK’s first entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon competition finished ninth in the overall competition and fifth in the energy efficiency competition. The 800-square-foot, net-zero energy house (#2A HOUSE PHOTO) was designed and built by 175 students from the Colleges of Engineering, Design, Agriculture and Communications. A total of 20 leading universities from both the United States and Europe competed – most of which had participated in prior events. Today, Dr. Greg Luhan, one of the faculty advisers to the project is here with us. Dr. Luhan, please stand so that we can congratulate you, your colleagues, and the students who achieved great success in the competition. Your team’s efforts have enhanced Lexington’s reputation as a center for research on energy efficient design and construction – areas that are sure to grow in years to come!"


01.15.2010: S•KY BLUE lands on main building lawn

The University of Kentucky's S•KY BLUE House is moving to the lawn in front of the Main Building. The relocation will give the university community and visitors to campus the opportunity to see the house that finished ninth at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall last October. This is one of three opportunities for Kentuckians to see the S•KY BLUE House in person this year. Beginning in mid-February, the house will be open for tours weekly every Monday through the spring semester. The house will also be open for Engineers Day in February and then remain on exhibit in front of the Main Building through the month of August. In addition to the guided tours, individuals will be able to take a Guide By Cell tour when the house isn't open utilizing their personal phones. After its stint at UK, it will be on display at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, scheduled to begin Sept. 25, 2010, in Lexington. The house will serve as the Visitor’s Center and the entry threshold to the Kentucky Experience exhibitions at the events.


12.21.2009: lessons learned debriefing

The UK S•KY BLUE solarhouse team met today to review the entire project, its strategies, outcomes, and goals for future collaborations including pursuing the 2013 Solar Decathlon.

12.19.2009: uky S•KY BLUE honored at half-court during Win #1999

The UK men's basketball team took time today, from their quest to be the first collegiate basketball team to reach 2000 wins, to honor the UK S•KY BLUE solarhouse team at half-court. During the first 15-minute timeout, President Lee Todd, First Lady Patsy Todd, and 10 members of the solarhouse team took to midcourt admist raucous applause from the 24,000 fans in attendance.

The win was career win #1999 for the Kentucky Wildcats, but clearly, for the UK S•KY BLUE solarhouse team, being on the court was priceless.

12.03.2009: uky vis center launches S•KY BLUE research channel video

Today, the VisCenter presented three outstanding videos representing the leading-edge research developing at the University of Kentucky. The packed lecture room of the WT Young Library also included a light-fare ecrudite, and plenary session of the team reseachers for the three projects. After comments and reviews are are compiled from the collaborators, the edited, final versions of the videos will be broadcast on the Research Channel and readily available to the nearly 15 million subscribers.

12.02.2009: S•KY BLUE reviews lessons learned with cmta engineers

A round-table lunch and learn session hosted by CMTA Engineers focusing on the lighting design jury comments and best-practices developed into an actively engaged session today. The session was attended by architecture and engineering students in development of solutions for forthcoming UK entries to future solar decathlons and other sustainably-oriented projects.

11.30.2009: greg luhan at the sustainable communities conference

Greg Luhan presented the S•KY BLUE solarhouse along with the Resonance House and his Collegetown Initiative at the Sustainable Communities Conference at Lexington's Downtown Library. The conference was attended by nearly 200 people and featured presentations by Dick Levine, Ernie Yanarella, and Calvin Beckford who founded the Secure By Design Initiative. After the presentations, a plenary session of Levine, Luhan, Yanarella, Beckford,and UKY College of Design Dean Michael Speaks, and Steve Austin followed.

11.21.2009: S•KY BLUE featured at basketball game

The “UK IN THE NEWS” TV halftime piece airs today at the men’s basketball - Rider at UK, 1 p.m. – Live regionally on Fox Sports South; statewide delayed telecast on the Big Blue Sports Network. The segment focuses on UK’s Solar Decathlon Team. Carl Nathe of UK Public Relations narrates the corresponding video which features footage of s.ky blue team members during the construction phase of the project.

11.19.2009: Don colliver presents the UKY solarhouse to the Rotary club

The frentic pace of presenting the successes of the S•KY BLUE house continued today as Don Colliver presented the solarhouse to the Rotary Club.

11.18.2009: uk president lee todd interviews S•KY BLUE for wuky radio program

Dr. Lee Todd invited UKY team members to participate in his monthly talk show entitled - UK Perspectives. The focus of the discussion was on the collaborative nature of the project, which literally "broke down traditional academic silos" and presented not only leading-edge research, but proved that UK could compete and succeed globally against it's benchmark institutions. The talk show originally called for one segment, but actually formed the basis of two segments.

11.12.2009: S•KY BLUE PI's present to UK president's leadership conference

Don Colliver and Greg Luhan presented a two-part presentation to the Leadership Conference hosted by University of Kentucky's President Lee Todd. The packed house enjoyed the presentations. After the lengthy question and answer period, the people in attendance were whisked off to tour the UKY Medical Center which is nearing completion. A request to tour the house was placed and will be arranged in the Spring 2010 semester.

11.11.2009: the S•KY BLUE solarhouse team interviews for the research channel

Brent Seales,Stephen Bailey, and Zachary Lynn of UK's Vis Center conducted interviews today with all members of the S•KY BLUE team. The focus of the inetrviews centered on the team's innovative approaches to incorporating research into the award winning project and the overall team experience through design, construction, fabrication, and competition. The completed video is slated for an unveiling in early December 2009.

11.09.2009: the S•KY BLUE solarhouse team in the odyssey research publication

The UK S•KY BLUE solarhouse team was interviwed by Alicia Gregory of Odyssey Magazine, the University of Kentucky's peer-reviewed research journal. The 8-page article will be featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Odyssey.

11.04-06.2009: the S•KY BLUE solarhouse team arrives in chicago, Il

The team started its Chicago tour by watching the New York Yankees win the World Series!

The UK S•KY BLUE solarhouse team arrived in Chicago to meet with the IDEO folks at the IIT's-Institute of Design. The S•KY BLUE design team along with engineering team leader-Drew Roberts-presented their 9th place project to the IIT-ID/IDEO project team and both leaders and researchers at USG company. After the presentations, we toured Michelle Kaufmann's 'Smart + Wired Home' which is on exhibit at Chicago’s Museum and Science and Industry. We had a a chance to catch-up with Jeanne Gang and Mark Schendel of Studio Gang, tour several Frank Lloyd Wright house projects in Oak Park, and have dinner with the Vice-President of USG.

11.03.2009: Members of the S•KY BLUE solarhouse team fly to Chicago

UKY S•KY BLUE Solarhouse team leaders, Donald Colliver, Gregory Luhan, Drew Roberts, Joshua Shank, and Josh Ayoroa boarded a private jet early this morning joining Jim Pauley of Schneider Electric (Lexington) on route to Chicago, Illinois. Once in Chicago the S•KY BLUE team presented their house to Schneider Electric's Chairman and their Board of Directors. Their presentation was coupled with Schneider's innovative product lines that are beginning to show-up on the market and of course, lunch. The team was back in Lexington by 5:00pm. A fantastic day and sincere kudos to the Schneider Electric "Green" team that helped sponsor UKY's "Blue" team.

11.02.2009: milks and cookie fête - college of design celebrates S•KY BLUE

With milk and cookies, the College of Design celebrated the team's 9th place finish at Pence Hall today. Dean Michael Speaks and Director David Biagi presented reduced sized photographs (18"x24") from the DEI exhibit by Photograher Frank Doring. Doring's original prints measured (72"x96"). These signed images feature a soon to be revitalize former coal-burning furnace in Henderson, KY. Professor Luhan presented several photographs and a few videos of the UKY entry to the competition to the student body. For many of those who packed into the standing room only lecture hall, it was the first time that they had seen the completed project. Each of the students spoke about their experiences over the course of the last 15 months - with particular emphasis on the DC experience.


10.22.2009: the S•KY BLUE solarhouse sets up on the main chance farm

While the rest of the team headed off to relax, the S•KY BLUE house returned to Lexington today. The S•KY BLUE house will be stored on the Main Chance Farm--which is owned and operated by the University of Kentucky--until an on campus site is selected and then readied for its temporary installation.

10.21.2009: the S•KY BLUE solarhouse team arrives in Lexington

After an 8-hour bus ride back to Lexington, KY, UK's S•KY BLUE solarhouse team is back at the AMRL! A few hours spent unloading the buses and restocking the AMRL lab, the team says hello to family members and heads off for a albeit brief, but much needed break, from the solarhouse duties. Don Colliver heads off to Florida for vacation; Greg Luhan heads to Chicago to give a lecture and moderate a session at the ACADIA2009 National Conference; and the rest team . . . they head back to their respective Kentucky hometowns and families.

10.20.2009: disassembly complete

With the last section of Duradeck safely stacked on the national Mall, the S•KY BLUE team looks to enjoy one or two days of site-seeing, meeting with family and friends, doing laundry, and cleaning-up the apartments - before heading back to Lexington, KY tomorrow morning around 9:00am and of course, enjoying the rest of the semester.

Today we enjoyed a fantastic team dinner at Ted's! A fitting end to our month-long stay in Washington, DC.

10.18.2009: disassembly begins

With the conclusion of the 2009 Solar Decathlon event, disassembly begins on the National Mall. With less than 48 hours to bring the site back "to the way that we found it," the task seems quite daunting. Disassembly should, however, be straight-forward since many of the DC-built systems can be disassembled as component parts as per the drawings, and then stored for transport.

10.17.2009: victory reception

The victory reception marks the closing of our time here on the National Mall among some of the brightest architects, engineer and communication students around the world. Earning 104.774 points out of 150 in Net Metering we were awarded an Honorable Mention for coming in fifth. We are honored in having the chance to compete against such talented individuals. At the end of the day, all 20 teams are champions in their own right. We have learned so much in the last 18 days about success, failure and the meaning of camaraderie. Amongst such competition we were given the chance to build bridges across states and nations.

Today we welcomed 1,311 guests into our s.ky blue home, including Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Mayor Jim Newberry, his wife, and two sons!

10.16.2009: UK makes top 10

What could be better than being 1 of 20 out of 180 schools to be chosen to compete with the best of the best in solar homes? Being able to say you made top 10 at the end of two years of hard work and dedication. Earning 732.152 points out of 1,000 put the University of Kentucky in ninth place overall in the competition.

A wrap up for our successes: We placed 2nd and received an honorable mention in the pople's choice award, 4th in the number of public tours given, and 9th place overall. Scores and placement for the ten decathlon events: 5th in net metering (104.774 of 150 points), 7th in appliances (70.124 of 100.00 points), 8th in home entertainment (74.915 of 100 points), 11th in hot water (77.700 of 100 points), 12th in comfort zone (64.889 of 100 points), 15th in architecture (71.000 of 100 points),16th in market viability (84.000 of 100.00 points), 17th in Communications (51.750 of 75 points), 17th in engineering (77.000 of 100.00 points), and 20th in Lighting Design (57.000 of 75 points).

We're so proud to have had the chance to come to Washington, D.C. and show the world some southern hospitality and our solar decathlon home. GO S.KY BLUE!

Today we welcomed 1,087 guests into our home!

10.15.2009: more results roll in

The lighting results are in! We earned 57 out of 75 possible points. We were hoping to score higher with our amazing clerestory windows providing natural light as well as our electrocromatic tintable glass windows and doors. Though not to excited about results of lighting, we invited 1,652 guests into our home today, making it the third highest number of guests in our home so far.

Today we welcomed 1,652 guests into our s.ky blue home!

10.14.2009: Congressman ben chandler (ky-06) tours s.ky blue

Today we had a very special visitor. Congressman Ben Chandler (KY-06) toured the house today with a small entourage of folks from his office. The Congressman spent a little over an hour at the house. Professors Colliver and Luhan discussed many of the innovations of the house and presented him with the underlying goals of the project. Student leaders Jeffrey Kellow and Joshua Ayoroa described several of the unique features of our project, and the Congressman was quite intrigued.

10.14.2009: Closed - come back tomorrow!

Today we didn't have any tours which was a nice break. Instead, we got to be the visitors because the solar village was open to tours for solar decathlon crew and team members. Getting to tour the other 19 cutting edge solar homes on the National Mall without the long lines was amazing and it was cool getting to know the other teams. We will be open tomorrow at 11 a.m. to welcome hundreds of more happy tourists.

Today we were closed to tours while the teams got to visit the other 19 homes.

10.13.2009: field trip to see the s.ky blue house

We couldn't believe what a few more hours with open doors could do! We more than doubled the amount of people who came through our house yesterday. We were so excited to welcome all the different schools that came through — ranging from kindergarten to seniors in high school. It was wonderful to see the excitement on their faces as they navigated through the guide-by-cell tour (most done by the teacher's cell phones) and were able to fill out reports for school. We enjoyed answering all types of questions as they wondered around our home.

Today we welcomed 1,961 guests into our s.ky blue home!

10.12.2009: UK basketball coach calipari tweets twice for s.ky blue

Coach Calipari posted two tweets to his Twitter account today. the 11:11am posting from the TweetDeck urged his followers to Vote for the UK solarhouse for the People's Choice Award. His 11:15am posting from the TweetDeck stated "I'm for anything that's an alternative to foreign oil. Solar Power, coal, wind, etc. It's great that we're out in front in advancement at UK." Thanks, Coach, for your support!!! UK's S•KY BLUE team wishes the UK Men's and Women's b-ball teams all of the best for your 2009-2010 season.

10.12.2009: some results are in

Even though we were only open for half the day, we still welcomed 738 guests into our home. It was also exciting to get the jury results from the architecture and market viability contests. In market viability we earned 84 out 100 possible points and for architecture our points received totaled to 71 out of 100. We can't wait for more jury results and visitors tomorrow!

Today we welcomed 783 guests into our s.ky blue home!

10.11.2009: Tours and a Movie

As the tours continued today we also competed in the Market Viability, Architecture and Communications jury. After tours ended we prepped our hor d'oeuvres and put on The Dark Knight and waited for our guests. We had students from Penn State, Ohio State and Spain join us for our little snack and movie. We had veggies and dip, chocolate chip cookies, pretzels with a honey mustard dip, chips and salsa and of course guacamole and a little plate of fruit. Great company and wonderful food always makes for a pleasant time.

Today we welcomed an amazing 6,121 guests into our s.ky blue home!

10.10.2009: Competition and Tours Continue

Today with tours beginning at 10 and ending at 5 we couldn't believe we had over 6,000 guests visit our home. Many guest were impressed with the guide-by-cell audio tour (check out our "virtual tour" section to see for yourself). They were excited to be able to listen to interesting concepts about our house while in line, as well as the ability to return to the information once they leave the site.

Guests couldn't get over our modern interpretation of shaker concepts with our sliding table, hanging chairs and hidden storage. Many of them wanted to swing back by in the evening in the hopes of seeing our Kentucky landscape scene illuminated by LED lights on the north, east and west facades.

Issac explaining how the electronic tintable glass works Isaac demonstrates how the electronic tintable glass works. (Left)

people looking at the brochures



People checking out our brochure explaining how the guide-by-cell audio tour works. (Right)



middle schoolers getting ready to enter the house



Group of middle school kids getting ready to enter the house and ask the architects and engineers questions for their homework assignments. (Left)

al ataide answers questions about the house before people enter




Architect Al Ataide answers questions for people waiting in line. (Right)


drew roberts showing off the kitchen table


Drew Roberts showing off the kitchen table that slides out from the wall. (Left)




Today we welcomed 1,221 guests into our s.ky blue home!

10.09.2009: A Kentucky meal for 8

Today tours of our lovely home began at 11 a.m. and ran until 3 p.m. It was so exciting to be able to show guests around our home and tell them the many concepts, systems and items unique to Kentucky. It was wonderful to hear guests say "I could see myself living in your home,"and "Can I buy your house because I want to live here?"

We closed early today so we could prep for our dinner party at 7. Two team members from Ohio State, Penn State and Spain were invited to attend our 4 course meal. All items on our menu were inspired by Chef John Plymale of Porcini in Louisville. Our menu featured local meat and produce reflecting our "live.light" mantra . We were grateful for his gracious gift of time and direction allowing us to flawlessly prepare and serve a delicious Kentucky meal. All of our guests were pleased with the meal with a few asking if they could come back on the 12th when we cook again.

Today we welcomed 1,056 guests into the s.ky blue home!


10.08.2009: President Lee Todd and First lady Mrs.Todd visit

The exciting news of the morning was that we were re-inspected today at 11 a.m. and we passed! What a morale boost it was when the team heard the news that yes, we would be competing today at noon and our VIP, sponsors and alumni would be able to tour our home. Opening ceremonies began promptly at 1p.m. acknowledging all participating teams. A few speeches were given by the Department of Energy, Solar Decathlon Staff and decathletes from various schools. At the opening ceremony each of the teams motto for their home was explained and official Solar Decathlon photos were taken. The team hurried back to the house to grab a bite of lunch before media tours began.

It was so exciting to meet President and First Lady Todd as well as the sponsors and alumni supporting our project. The hor d'oeuvres were delicious and conversations enlightening. President Todd spoke words of encouragement, honor and gratitude. He reminded both students, faculty and alumni that UK is not just about athletics; we should be proud to be collaborating on a project of this intellectual magnitude. Competing on a world stage in research and design projects like The Solar Decathlon will make UK's dream of being a top 20 university a reality. Thank you to our sponsors, faculty, and alumni for your continuous support. We are so glad you all could come and visit the house today. We can't wait for tomorrow's contests and visitors.

president and mrs. todd walking up the ramp


President and First Lady Todd walking up the ramp to visit the S•KY BLUE house. (Left)



greg luhan talking with president todd


Greg Luhan explaining different parts of the S•KY BLUE house to President Todd. (Right)



president todd standing in the bathroom with first lady


Dr. and Mrs. Todd checking out the S•KY BLUE bathroom. (Left)


first lady todd impressed with fold down cabinets



UKY First Lady, Patsy Todd, was impressed with the lowering cabinet racks. (Right)


Today we welcomed 445 guests into our s.ky blue home plus another 275 unrecorded guests that attended the Presidnet's reception at the house this evening!


10.07.2009: High's and Low's on the mall

Today the team experienced many up's and a few downs. Tension ran high as all team members put the finishing touches on the house. Laurie and Kyle finished up the irrigation system and with the help of the team the mulch was spread in the planters finishing up our beautiful Kentucky landscape. The engineers and architects checked through the house to make sure all of our bases were covered. All hands were on deck as the day came to a close and the cleaning began. At 8pm we had our final mechanical inspection and sadly we did not pass. To pass we needed to blow air through the air duct, due to the inability for the fan coils to turn on we were unable to do this. Even with this mishap, the team left with their heads held high, leaving a few trusted engineers at the house to fix the problem. We are looking forward to passing inspection in the morning and being able to compete by noon tomorrow

greg figuring out what to do next Time is really starting to crunch down on the team. (Top Left)

kellin taking a quick break Kellin taking a quick seat before getting back to all the work ahead. (Top Right)



ross and alex finishing up the skirting around the deck

Ross Graham and Alex Jordan finishing up the deck skirting. (Middle Left)


Kyle Berry working on mulching some of the planters. (Middle Right)kyle berry working on mulching the planters


loading up the truck with tools they won't use anymoreTrying to load up the truck to have the site cleared for the construction deadline. (Bottom Left)


Annie adding some last minute work on the kitchen wall. (Bottom Right)

annie puttying the wall








10.06.2009: We are officially on the grid

Today started off great! We passed the required inspections needed for us to connect to the grid. This was very exciting and made it clear that we are on schedule for inspections to come and put us one step closer to welcoming our guests. Richard, Laurie and Amin began work on the pulse trickle irrigation system located throughout the planters around the house. Laurie will be finishing up the installation on the system tomorrow. The team also began work on the composite decking apron that surrounds our house's planters. The Kentucky landscape is looking beautiful already and we can't wait to see the finished project. As the day came to a close the team was able to flip the switch and turn on the LED lights behind the cement fiber boards displaying a traditional Kentucky landscape. With more work to come and finish up, we're looking forward to meeting the other teams as well as our guests. See you tomorrow!






Landscape Architecture faculty Laurie Fields hard at work on the landscape. (Left)






Planter progress at lunchtime. (Right)






Professor Luhan cracking a smile for a photo. (Left)









houseEvening photo of the south facade. (Right)








Greg skimming the manual for the entertainment system






10.05.2009: Deck work

We have lots of work to accomplish on the house today. We're finishing up the installation of cement fiber boards on the south facade, which wrap around the south, east and west facades. One of the really cool things about these boards is that they are rasterized (they have holes cut out in specific locations) so that when you stand about two or three hundred feet away, your eyes will be able to distinguish a typical kentucky landscape featuring a fence and some rolling hills. The best time to see this is at night since these boards are lined with LED lights behind them to really give the house some extra flair. So, if all goes well we will be able to turn the them on tomorrow night.

It looks like we will finish up all of the planters today and start placing plants tomorrow as well. The plumbing throughout the house was air pressure checked; we passed and received water today! We love that the deck is really coming together. Check us out tomorrow!

Finishing planters


Ross and Jon finishing up edge of the planters to prepare for planting and irrigation instillation. (Left)






Ashley, a member of the communication team, paints the corn hole boards. (Right)







Evening rolls in on the mall as work on planters begin. (Left)




cement boards


Finishing up the rasterized cement fiber boards on south facade. (Right)



south deck





The decking has been installed and the planters are really starting to shape up. This picture shows the roadside planter with fragrant sumac and lemon grass plants. (Left)



10.04.2009: A beautiful Ky scene

As the installation of the Kentucky scene panels began, we were saddened to find that one had been broken. While the other scene panels were placed on the house, creative repair techniques were discussed on how to fix the broken panel. As the day came to a close and evening rolled in, Don Colliver had an unexpected visitor — the Washington metro police had stopped to let the team know that the vehicles next to the house needed to be moved to make more space on the gravel sidewalk. Team members pointed out Don Colliver to the policeman from the other side of the house. As Don approached the team and police noticed a knife in his hand and a look of shock on his face. After finding out that the police were only there in regards to the vehicles and not in regards to his sweet knife handling skills Don was relieved.

As for construction updates: the go ahead on the plumbing from the inspectors means that water arrives tomorrow.

nicole and alex


Nicole Britenriker interviewing Alex Jordan about what is going on at the house. (Left)




Carl King taking a moment to enjoy the scenery. (Right)





10.03.2009: Construction—the beginning the end

Our house is really starting to come together and by Wednesday I think we'll have ourselves a Kentucky home. Today work continued on the deck and around 8 p.m. the ramp arrived. With the final piece of deck on site the team was anxious to install it. Lacking correct equipment to move the ramp off the trailer, team Boston came to our rescue. With Boston's construction equipment the night team successfully completed the deck. Thanks team Boston!!



Josh putting in work under the deck. (Left)





Attaching another panel for the deck. (Right)




10.02.2009: One inspection down!

Today the solar decathlon inspector came by and gave us the thumbs up on our electrical work. We're good to go — now on to the next thing. Construction on the deck began today as well, this is no small feat and looks like it will take few days to get this task accomplished. Looking forward to this weekend and finishing up construction.

jeffrey kellow


Jeffrey Kellow checking off things to finish for the day (Left)





Al Ataide finishing up putting photovoltaic panels on the roof (Right)






10.01.2009: Night rolls in

monument at nightcapitol at nightAs the day comes to a close the communication team departs from the National Mall to catch some z's and prepare for tomorrow. We leave the team still hard at work on the house and assure them we'll return in the morning for more updates and photos. Good night s.ky blue and good night Washington.


10.01.2009: Team S•KY BLUE hard at work as construction begins

roofdonWith construction officially beginning on October 1st at midnight, the engineers and architects get some serious work accomplished. Though we have much to accomplish between today and the beginning of the competition, we thought it would be nice to give you all a sneak peek at the construction and also behind the scenes work of our team.

solar panels






This is the mount for our photovoltaic-paneling on the roof. (Top left)

Don Colliver and Johnathan Stewart observe ongoing construction on the roof. (Right)

The handsome men of s.ky blue hard at work on the paneling supports. (Bottom left)

09.30.2009: Capitol visit and Photo Opp with Senator Mitch McConnell

waiting in the capital Roughly 12 hours after arrival into our country's beautiful capital, we capitalized on the opportunity to meet our state's senator, Mr. Mitch McConnell. Successfully making it through security with a few frisked team members and a slight chance of Kyle getting escorted out from capital officers for photographing security personnel, we met our delightful tour guides Sam and Ryan. After viewing a short film about the capitol and American history we began our official tour of the capitol building. tour guide

Our good looking team waiting to enter the film about the capitol. Aren't you loving the matching team apparel? We think it's great and quite suave — thank you Greg Luhan for the amazing gear. (Top right)

McCainDon Colliver, professor in the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, speaks with our tour guide Ryan before entering the capital theater. (Top left)

Checking out a map model of the significant buildings and monuments of DC inside the capital. We're loving life on our new stomping grounds. (Bottom left)

boardThis is a shot for all you John McCain fans out there! Yes,we really did pass him on our tour of the capital. It was quite a trip to see him strolling around the capital building and acknowledging us by saying "Hey, what's going on guys?!" (Bottom right)


09.29.2009: Taking off to show Washington, DC a little piece of the Bluegrass

bus picture The house departed Lexington Monday, September 28. The S•KY BLUE team followed the house leaving at 8am the following morning. With much work ahead, the team was sure to get in some rest and relaxation on the bus ride up in preparation for the long nights on the mall ahead.




s.ky blue team at monuments.kyblue in front of monumentMeet your bloggers

We thought it would be nice for you to know the faces behind all the pictures and updates. So we posted a few photos of ourselves on the National Mall. We can't wait to see what the competition holds and keep you updated.

Enjoy from your S•KY BLUE communications team,

Kyle, Grace, Ashley and Nicole




Kyle, Grace and Ashley at the mall as construction begins (Left)

Ashley, Kyle and Nicole right before we all grabbed our official badges, threw on some of the most fashionable work boots in Washington to hit the site and check out the team's progress on the house. (Right)