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

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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

  • All CS/EE/ME 75 students must be on a design team

Integrated Product Team (IPT)

Engineering Coach: TBD (staff; 10 hrs/wk)
Project Manager: TBD (staff; 10 hrs/wk)
Systems Engineer: TBD (ug; 9 units)

Instr: Melany Hunt
Coord: Prakhar Mehrotra
Team rep: TBD (ug; 9 units)

Mechanical Systems

  • 8-12 Caltech students
  • 0-2 SCI-Arc students
  • HVAC
  • Water systems
  • Building shell
  • Appliances
  • Fire protection

Instr: Harry Atwater
Coord: Dan Turner-Evans
Team rep: TBD (ug; 9 units)

Electrical Systems

  • 4-8 Caltech students
  • 2-4 SCI-Arc students
  • Electrical power
  • Photovoltaics
  • Lighting
  • Consumer electronics

Instr: Richard Murray
Coord: Annie Liu
Team rep: TBD (ug; 9 units)

Computing Systems

  • 4-6 Caltech students
  • 0-4 SCI-Arc students
  • Energy monitoring
  • Security system
  • Home automation
  • Weather database

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


  • 24-30 SCI-Arc students
  • 6-10 Caltech students
  • Interior design (east)
  • Interior design (west)
  • Exterior design (puff)
  • Exterior design (tension)

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

  • 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

Computing Systems

Integrated Product Team

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.