CS/EE/ME 75, 2010-11 - Project Organization

From Murray Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
CS/EE/ME 75 Organization Schedule Team wiki Public site

This page describes the organization of the Solar Decathlon Team, as reflected through CS/EE/ME 75. This page is in draft form, pending discussion with the IPT.

Project Mission Statement

The mission of the SCI-Arc/Caltech team is to design and build a stylish, affordable net-zero home well suited to the Los Angeles urban area. The project will highlight the innovative work of the two unique institutions by implementing new design solutions to the affordable, sustainable housing market. As an integral part of the design/build process, the SCI-Arc/Caltech team will engage the city of Los Angeles in a series of public outreach programs to locally educate the community about the merits of sustainable design. This spirit of extending the merits of sustainable design into the general public and city are integrated into the team's fundamental marketing strategy—informing a design that can be populated across L.A. into a number of strategic locations, thus addressing densification through infill and multi-unit development.

Engineering Team Principles

  • Design to win: conceive, design, implement and operate the house in a way that scores the maximum allowable points for engineering subsystems on a 95th percentile day and ensures that our design will be the winning house.
  • Captivate the imagination: Demonstrate that it is possible to build an affordable and sustainable house that Americans will buy and investigate and publicize new technologies and technology opportunities that can lead to even better designs in the future
  • Take pride in our work: Carry out and present our design activities in a manner that reflects the excellence and uniqueness of Caltech and SCI-Arc. We should be proud of the work we have done.
  • Motivate the next generation: Get the next generation of Caltech students excited about participating in Solar Decathalon 2013 and leave behind artifacts and knowledge that will help them win in an increasingly sophisticated competition.

Engineering Team Structure

Design Teams

Integrated Product Team (IPT)

Engineering Coach: TBD (staff; 10-20 hrs/wk)
Project Manager: John Onderdonk/Jim Cowell
Systems Engineer: Fei Yang

Instr: Melany Hunt
Coord: Prakhar Mehrotra
Team rep: Richard Wang

Mechanical Systems

  • 15 Caltech students
  • 0-2 SCI-Arc students


  • HVAC
  • Water systems
  • Building shell
  • Appliances
  • Fire protection


  • Carrega, David
  • Cleary, Emmet
  • Fan, Yuyang
  • Hassenruck-Gudipati, Hima
  • Lambert, Valere
  • Ma, Brian
  • Matulevich, Blaine
  • Mayock, Maura
  • Millikan, Rae
  • Nayak, Priya
  • Nzeukou, Brice
  • Sato, Cameron
  • Wang, Richard
  • Wang, Yi (Jenny)
  • Wilson, Alexander


Instr: Harry Atwater
Coord: Dan Turner-Evans
Team rep: Andrew Gong

Electrical Systems

  • 12 Caltech students
  • 2-4 SCI-Arc students


  • Electrical power
  • Photovoltaics
  • Lighting
  • Consumer electronics


  • Ahmed, Sara
  • (removed)
  • Gong, Andrew
  • Kim, Caroline
  • Lin, Jeffrey
  • Luxem, Katya
  • Poletayev, Andrey
  • Tan, Albert
  • Taneski, Filip
  • Wernis, Rebecca
  • Ye, Wubing
  • Yu, Caroline


Instr: Richard Murray
Coord: Annie Liu
Team rep: Cole Hershkowitz

Computing Systems

  • 16 Caltech students
  • 0-4 SCI-Arc students


  • Energy monitoring
  • Security system
  • Home automation
  • Weather modeling


  • Gupta, Sonal
  • Hershkowitz, Cole
  • Hsu, Victor
  • Huang, Yifei
  • Jones, Samuel
  • Kurtz, Ben
  • Lo, Kevin
  • Mou, Judy Xingyue
  • Peng, Jeanne
  • Su, Julia
  • Suen, Ka-chuan
  • Tsuei, Stephanie
  • Wu, Shengkai
  • Wu, Stephen
  • Xin, Suiyi (Doris)
  • (removed)


  • Ufuk Topcu (Caltech CDS)

Lead: Reed Finlay
Instructors: W Jones, D Oyler
Student reps (2):


  • 24-30 SCI-Arc students
  • 7-10 Caltech students

Interior design (east)

  • Caltech rep: TBD (1-2)

Interior design (west)

  • Caltech rep: TBD (1-2)

Exterior design (puff)

  • Caltech rep: TBD (1-2)

Exterior design (tension)

  • Caltech rep: TBD (1-2)


  • Lead: Elisabeth Neigert
  • Caltech reps: TBD (2-4)


  • Caltech reps: TBD (1-2)

Other teams:

  • Mock-up
  • Modeling

Support Teams

  • Students participating in support teams must be signed up for 6-9 units
System Administration
  • Maintain project computing systems
  • Lead: UG (tbd)
  • Maintain Caltech test facilities
  • Lead: UG (tbd)
  • Public outreach and fundraising
  • Lead: Elisabeth Neigert (SCI-Arc)

Team and subsystem descriptions

The work in the project is broken up into a number of subsystems, each the responsibility of a one of the three design teams. The descriptions below, broken up by team, give a brief summary of the functions required of each subsystem.

Mechanical Systems

The mechanical systems team has primary responsibility for subsystems involving thermal, fluid and mechanical processes, including the following subsystems:

  • HVAC (heating, venitillation and air conditioning): The HVAC subsystem includes all systems and components that (significantly) control the air quality of the house – air heating and cooling, dehumidification, air movement, air filtering, exchange-air heat recovery, bathroom ventilation, ceiling fans, etc. The baseline design cals for integration of water heating and HVAC into a centralized thermal distribution system.
  • Water systems: The water systems subsystem includes all systems and components that deliver and condition water – potable and non-potable water storage, pressurization (pumping), water delivery and wastewater removal plumbing, water heating, rainwater catchments, etc. Solar hot water and graywater eat recovery (if any) are also the responsibility of this team.
  • Building shell (insulation): The building shell team will elaborate structures, materials and designs of the building shell of the house. The building shell includes the walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors of the house. The main focus of the project is to minimize gain and loss of heat through the building shell. Suitable and cost efficient insulation has to be chosen and integrated in the unique design of the house.
  • Appliances: The appliances team is responsible for all major appliances that will be installed in the house (including washer, dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator) and the integration of these systems into any energy management and thermal management subsystems.
  • Fire protection: The fire protection subsystem includes fire detectors and sprinkler systems design to protect the house and its occupants in case of fire.

Electrical Systems

The electrical systems team has primary responsibility for subsystems involving electrical power and building electronics, including the following subsystems:

  • Electrical power: The electrical power subsystem is responsible for distributing electrical power to all devices around the house, as well as connecting the house to the external grid and photovoltaic system (in conjunction with the PV team)
  • Photovoltaics (PV): The PV subsystemincludes all aspects of the PV system, including electrical and non-electrical elements that are integral to it. Issues to be addressed include equipment election (modules, inverter(s), combiner boxes), system configuration (incl. wiring specification), code compliance, schematics, performance modeling, system mounting.
  • Lighting: The lighting subsystem is responsible for all illumination aspects of the project, including indoor and outdoor fixed lighting, plug lighting, daylighting, and adaptive controls for both daylighting and electrical lighting. Ultimately, the lighting design will need to be closely matched with the architectural design of the project and with the house energy management system.
  • Consumer electronics: The consumer electronics team is responsible for audio, video and computing systems that are integrated into the house design, including energy and thermal budgets for these components.

Computing Systems

The computing systems team has primary responsibility for subsystems involving embedded and non-embedded computation, including the following subsystems:

  • Energy monitoring: The energy monitoring subsystem includes features that ensure that the house can be operated efficiently during the competition. It also adds polish and integration between subsystems in the house which impact user experience and increase market appeal. The energy monitoring subsystem will be tightly integrated with the security, home automation and weather modeling subsystems.
  • Security: The security subsystem is responsible for monitoring aspects of the house associated with physical security, including open doors and windows, motion inside the house and other monitoring as needed. The security subsystem will be closely integrated with the home automation and energy monitoring subsystems.
  • Home automation: The home automation subsystem is responsible for controlling various aspects of the house, including lighting, HVAC and other system functions. It provides the primary set of interfaces by which the energy monitoring system controls the house.
  • Weather modeling: The weather modeling team is responsible for maintaining weather databases that can be used for system design as well as doing real-time prediction of upcoming weather during the competition to ensure optimal energy performance of the house.

Integrated Product Team

The integrated product team (IPT) consists of representative from each of the engineering teams as well as the architecture team. The IPT is responsible for overall design coordination, including maintaining system-level cost, energy and thermal budgets. Conflicts between subsystems will be discussed and resolved through the IPT, in coordination with the relevant subsystems and/or teams.

Support Teams

In addition to the design teams listed above, a number of others teams will be established to carry out other activities that are required for success of the project but not part of the engineering design of the house itself. Students serving on these teams and taking CS/EE/ME 75 for credit must be a member of a design team (above) and be taking the course for at least 6 units of credit (to allow time to participate on more than one team).

Caltech led teams

  • Systems administration: the system administration team will be responsible for maintaining project computing resources, including mailing lists, wikis and shared project documents. We need 1-3 students for the system administration team.
  • Facilities: the facilities team will be responsible for any Caltech facilities that are used by the team, including maintaining the lab in Steele, coordinating with the Caltech administration for houses or other facilities that we install equipment in, and maintaining any Caltech vehicles or equipment that is used as part of the course. We need 2-3 students for the facilities team.

SCI-Arc led teams

  • Interior design: the interior design teams are responsible for the interior of the house. 1-2 Caltech students are needed to serve as liasons to the interior design teams, including making sure that design decisions from the engineering teams are compatible with design decisions from the architecture teams.
  • Exterior design: the exterior design teams are responsible for the exterior of the house (including outer shell). 1-2 Caltech students are needed to serve as liasons to the exterior design teams, including making sure that design decisions from the engineering teams are compatible with design decisions from the architecture teams.
  • Documentation: the documentation team is responsible for putting all of the design information into the format required for submission to the Solar Decathlon competition. 1-2 Caltech students are need to help insure that subsystem documentation is done in a manner that is compatible with the needs of the documentation team.
  • Communications: the communications team is responsible for outreach to the public, including the web site, planning events and other activities. Caltech participation in these teams is highly encouraged and is a great way to find out more about how to communicate technical ideas to the general public.

External Advisors

The SCI-Arc/Caltech Solar Decathlon team seeks help from outside advisors who are interested in providing students with knowledge and feedback on various aspects of the project. We generally organize advisors into one of several roles:

  • Review team members (2-6 hrs/quarter) - design reviews will take place roughly once per quarter. Review team members provide valuable outside perspective on the current design and feedback on issues that should be investigated or address. Review team members are included in project-level e-mails and invited to weekly project meetings. Design reviews last 2-4 hours and are typically scheduled between 6 and 10 pm, weekday evenings.
  • Subject matter experts (0-2 hrs/week) - subject matter experts (SMEs) have expertise in one or more subsystem areas and are willing to provide knowledge and advice to students when needed. SMEs are also invited to weekly project meetings, design reviews and other project-wide events.
  • Design team advisors (2-4 hrs/week) - design team advisors serve as ongoing advisors to one of the three engineering design teams (mechanical systems, electrical systems, computing systems). Team advisors attend the weekly team meetings (typically 1.5-2 hrs/week) and provide input to the IPT team representatives and members of subsystem design teams.
  • Engineering coach (10-20 hrs/week) - the engineering coach is responsible for guiding the overall team activities and helping students work through technical and project management issues at the systems level. The engineering coach attends the weekly project meeting, runs the IPT meeting (along with the SCI-Arc project lead), organizes engineering design reviews, provides advice and mentoring to student members (especially IPT reps) and has overall responsibility for Caltech budgets and facilities. This position requires availability during normal working hours as well as some evenings and weekends.

Interested individuals should contact one of the course instructors to obtain more information about serving in one or more of these roles.