University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

GRoW Home Delivers Stellar Performance in UB's Solar Decathlon Debut

Published October 17, 2015

Countless hours of designing, building, fine-tuning and fundraising over the past two and a half years have paid off for the more than 200 University at Buffalo students and faculty members who worked on the GRoW Home.

Their super-efficient solar-powered masterpiece placed second overall in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon. The final results were tabulated Saturday morning and the top three overall place finishers were announced during a ceremony inside a former military hangar in Orange County Great Park, where the 10-day competition has taken place.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled and prouder of the team. Watching them elevate their level of performance with every new milestone that we got to, they just rose to every challenge that they met, said Martha Bohm, GRoW Home faculty advisor and assistant professor of architecture.

UB GRoW Home Finishes Strong

  • The GRoW Home team finished second with 941.191 points out of a possible 1,000, just over nine points behind first-place SURE House by the Stevens Institute of Technology.
  • The house earned top-five placement in each of the 10 contests and won in the three categories. The GRoW Home was the only fully-functional home to come in under the competition's energy use threshold. 
  • Of the non-juried, measured contest categories, UB's house fared best in Comfort Zone (first place with 95.719 out of 100 points), Commuting (tied for first with 100), Energy Balance (tied for first with 100) and Appliances (second with 99.523).
  • In the five juried contests, the GRoW Home placed third in Communications, fourth in Market Appeal; and fifth in Architecture, Affordability and Engineering. 

Reactions from the Team

GRoW Home Students via Facebook: "Thank you!"

"Thank you everyone who made this moment possible...Congratulations to all fellow teams and houses!! Like Richard King, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon said, 'It took all of [us] to make a village,' and, yes, we can't agree more."

Community, alumni, friends rally behind project:

UB's successful run in the Solar Decathlon has benefitted from the financial support of more than 450 individuals and organizations. Thanks to all for making UB’s first entry in the Solar Decathlon possible.

Dean Robert G. Shibley

“It’s an incredible compliment to the quality of the student base that produced it, the quality of the faculty that managed it and to the tremendous support we’ve received from our sponsors, both in the Buffalo Niagara region and around the world.”

Martha Bohm, lead faculty advisory and assistant professor of architecture

“We did exceptionally well in the core challenge of this competition, which is making a beautiful piece of architecture perform very well.”

Chris Osterhoudt (MArch '15), project manager

“The competition was incredibly intense. We finished top-five in every contest. For that to happen, every member of the team had to pull their weight and had to do their best, and they did.”

The buzz on GRoW

2/22/16

This BUILDER Online video feature takes a walk through UB's urban gardener dwelling, which adapts to Buffalo's warm summers and harsh winters and allows residents to produce food year-round.

2/22/16

National Geographic provides a photo gallery of the top solar homes designed and built by collegiate teams for the 2015 Solar Decathlon.

2/22/16

Inhabitat takes a look inside the "stunning" solar-powered GRoW Home, featuring extensive photos of the house.

2/22/16

Architectural Digest presents the UB GRoW Home's collection of student-designed furniture.

2/22/16

Read UB's feature story on the six clever pieces of furniture designed and built by students for their Solar Decathlon entry.

About