Students who are designing and constructing a solar house for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition have raised funds for their project by raffling an electric car.

The students conducted the raffle between November 2008 and February 2009, selling almost 1,000 tickets. In March, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Preston Bryant visited campus to learn about the team’s solar house project and to pull the winning raffle ticket. The winner, Frederick Hood, is a visiting assistant professor of finance in the Pamplin College of Business.

The car is a two-seat GEM e2 produced by Global Electric Motorcars, a Chrysler company. It is street legal and, because it uses no gas, costs about $60 per year to operate. The GEM e2 produces no emissions and can be charged on any regular household outlet.

The students raised about $10,000. All proceeds are supporting the team’s Solar Decathlon project. The Solar Decathlon involves 20 international colleges and universities from around the world competing to design, build, and operate a solar-powered house. In October 2009, the houses will be displayed on the National Mall in Washington D.C., and will be toured by the public. Thousands come to the Mall to be inspired by the creative and innovative solar homes designed by tomorrow’s architecture professionals.

This Solar Decathlon entry will be Virginia Tech’s third. In 2005, the Virginia Tech Solar Decathlon team won first place in Best Architecture, Best Dwelling, Best Daylight, and it tied for first place in Best Electric Light; the team placed fourth in the overall competition. The 2005 solar house is currently on exhibition at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

The raffle was conducted through the American Institute of Architecture Students.

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