AU Press Releases

AU/ASC/Guilin team earns Decathlon citation

Four Alfred University (AU) engineering students - second-year graduate student Steven Gruspier, junior Wanrui He, junior Avery Sandler,  and senior Daniel Zaparzynski - represented the University on a trip to Datong, China in partnership with Alfred State College and Guilin (China) University of Technology (GUT) students to compete against 18 other university teams in the Solar Decathlon 2013 China this summer, an ongoing and practical laboratory for the Inamori School of Engineering’s Renewable Energy Engineering program. The team earned first place in the competition’s energy balance contest.

Wallace B. Leigh, AU professor of electrical engineering, accompanied the AU students on their trip.

The three institutions worked together as Team Alfred-Guilin to finish a Zero Energy modular home by Aug. 1, using their talents and knowledge of home systems, trade, and architecture. AU students designed the electrical, mechanical and heating/cooling systems in the house. Alfred State students offered their trades experience and GUT students involved themselves in the architectural design.

Before the competition, students and faculty collaborated with each other regularly via emails, phone conversations, and/or Skype conferences. Several meetings involving students and faculty took place in China. AU’s Dr. Jianxin Tang, professor of electrical engineering, visited GUT in March 2012 and provided the electrical engineers viewpoint on photovoltaic systems.

During the 2012-13 academic year, Xuesong Li of Chongging Electronic College, China, taught the practical economics side of renewable energy engineering to AU students.

The working model home was displayed on Alfred State’s Wellsville campus for contractors and the public to experience a Zero Energy modular home designed by students. The home included a combination of traditional wood frame construction with structural insulated panels.

Gruspier is an electrical engineering major and a son of Lisa Gruspier of Rochester. He is a glass engineering science major and a daughter of Xuejian He and Cheng Jing of West Hartford, Conn. Sandler is a mechanical engineering major and a native of Israel. Zaparzynski is a mechanical engineering major and a son of Karen Winant of Hornell.

Leigh earned a bachelor of science and engineering degree from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University. His areas of concentration and research include CMOS analog circuits SOC integration soar energy systems, layout issues in analog design and an image sensor as an undergraduate VSLI project chip design of multi-ramp A/D converter unsupported: model of a thermal-solar energy system.

The U.S. Department of Energy established the Solar Decathlon in 2002 with just four universities competition. The department responded to increasing international interest and joined with its counterparts in Spain (2007) and China (2011) to cosponsor three international competitions including Solar Decathlon Europe and Solar Decathlon China.

The Department of Energy and the National Energy Administration host the Solar Decathlon China competition organized by Peking University and supported by private companies. According to the memorandum that established the competition, the governments of the United States and the People's Republic of China have a common goal in fostering sustainable economic and social development while encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and recognize that solar energy development and use is an important part of their collaboration.