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UNLV team’s solar-powered home finishes 3rd in global contest

A UNLV team took third place in a U.S. Department of Energy challenge to design and build a home powered by solar energy.

UNLV’s team was among nine finalists in the 2020 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge, which drew competitors from across the globe. The competition was delayed nearly a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and held virtually last week. Winners were announced Sunday.

“Winning third in the world is a testament to the tenacious mettle of the dozens of students who dedicated so many hours to this project while balancing school, work, and family responsibilities amidst the coronavirus pandemic,” UNLV architecture professor and team faculty adviser Eric Weber said in a university news release. “Team Las Vegas embodies the resilience of our university and this community, and the entire UNLV community is so proud of their success.”

In addition to placing third overall, UNLV garnered first place awards in the operations and presentation categories, took second place for innovation and tied for second for energy performance.

A team of about 50 UNLV students spent two-plus years designing and building “Mojave Bloom,” a 628-square-foot solar-powered house that now resides at the Storytelling Garden in Las Vegas’ Arts District. It’s designed for veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.

It was the third time UNLV has competed in the Build Challenge, with previous appearances in 2013 and 2017.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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