Santa Clara Students Use Google Software To Teach Solar Power

Santa Clara University (SCU) engineering students are holding monthly live chats with elementary schoolers in Irvine, Calif., using Google+ Hangouts On Air to teach the kids about what goes into designing and building a solar home.

The SCU Solar Decathlon team is building a 1,000-square-foot home on the SCU campus before loading it on trucks and hauling it to Irvine for the Department of Energy competition this October. In a series of live virtual chat sessions, team members have been sharing their experiences with fifth graders at the Plaza Vista School.

According to SCU, the fifth graders have learned about how the solar panels work and have taken a ‘virtual field trip’ of the mechanical room of the university's Solar Decathlon 2009 entry. The mechanical room holds the systems that control the heating and cooling, convert solar energy, run electrical panels and monitor the entire house.

‘We're really excited for this opportunity to build a home that produces more energy than it uses and love the idea of sharing our passion for sustainability with the next generation,’ says SCU mechanical engineering student Brian Grau.

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