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Environmental Lights Sponsors Solar Decathlon Team

Environmental Lights was a sponsor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Re_home in the 2011 Solar Decathlon, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. The competition is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Designed and constructed over two years, the Re_home was designed to be a rapid-response solution for a family after a natural disaster. The solar- powered home shows how possible environmentally-aware living can be when brought to the forefront of any community-led recovery program.

The event was held at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. View a walkthrough of the Re_home on YouTube at

The Re_home is based on the principles of sustainability, flexibility and ease of construction. The house includes two modules that can be transported on one trailer for rapid response to disastrous situations. The photovoltaic system, converts cells directly from sunlight into electricity, can be installed on the roof prior to shipment. When the house arrives at its destination, the panels can be lifted to the optimal angle for sun exposure and used immediately.

View pictures of the Re_home at

A large part of the competition was devoted to demonstrating the importance of renewable energy and sustainability innovations. The team decided to install Environmental Lights' LED strip lighting in the flex space and outdoor areas for the Re_home. LED strip lighting is very energy-efficient, bright and easy to install. It played a major factor in helping the team win the Energy Balance contest, scoring 100 out of 100 points for producing minimal amounts of energy, while allowing the home to remain functional.

The team installed RGB Waterproof LED strip lighting along the exterior of the house and along the bottom of the wall to light up the back of the house. The strip lighting was cut into 2 foot sections and joined together with a variety of connectors and accessories and powered by two 60 Watt 12 VDC Waterproof Power Supplies.

The interior of the home utilized warm white dimmable LED strip lighting to create a vibrant, inviting atmosphere. This high brightness ribbon is about 175 percent brighter than traditional LED strip lighting, and consumes only 50 watts per reel (16.4 feet).

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won two of the 10 contests in the 2011 Solar Decathlon. They earned top honors in the Appliances and Energy Balance contests and placed seventh overall. Each team's house was equipped with a bidirectional utility meter that enabled competition organizers to measure the net energy the homes produced or consumed over the course of the competition. The home is now permanently located on the University's campus in Urbana, IL, where it will be used for education, research and exhibition.