By Conor McCue


GOLDEN, Colo., (CBS4) – Several students from the Colorado School of Mines are putting their engineering skills to the test against the rest of the world. They’re currently in Ben Guerir, Morocco taking part in the Solar Decathlon Africa – a competition to design, build, and operate a full-sized solar-powered home.

(credit: Inter House)

The team calls itself Inter House. It consists of students from the Colorado School of Mines, Cadi Ayyad University and the National School of Architecture of Marrakech. The students have been in Morocco since early August and the clock is ticking.

They have until Sept. 9 to finish building a meticulously designed, solar-powered home.

(credit: Inter House)

“It’s using a lot of green-thinking and a lot of advanced technologies in a very small package,” said John McDowell, a senior.

McDowell didn’t make the trip, but played a big part in the design and preparation. The group chose to build certain parts of the home in Golden and then ship them across the world in a shipping container.

(credit: Inter House)

“The experience of being able to try to pull something off on a really big scale, no senior capstone project probably is of this magnitude where you’re designing and then building in a completely foreign country,” McDowell said.

According to McDowell, the students spent months carefully designing every part of the house. Before that, they learned while building a solar-powered tiny home on campus.

(credit: Inter House)

“So we got to do a lot of trial and error on this house to figure out what we needed to do correctly on the Inter House,” he said.

The competition starts Sept. 9 and goes until Sept. 29.

With a win, the team could bring home cash, pride and new opportunities for future students.

(credit: Inter House)

“We’re hoping that we do a really good job at competition so that we can show Mines that this is maybe something worth pursuing and continuing for years to come,” McDowell said.

According to McDowell, the structure will stay in Morocco after the competition. It could become a home or an office building.

If you want to follow the students’ progress you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website, where they publish blog posts about the competition.

Conor McCue

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