Team California, comprised of students from Santa Clara University, got its day in the sun after winning second place in engineering and third place overall at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The students beat top universities such as Tufts University, Rice University and Cornell University, making their home one of the most energy-efficient, beautiful and comfortable solar-powered homes in the world. The judges described Team California’s 800-square-foot house, called Refract House, as masterfully executed, exquisite and well designed.
Read more about Team California’s win here.
Helping lead the team to its win was Jesuit Father Jim Reites, faculty member at SCU. With his endless supply of energy, infectious laugh and no-nonsense, do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done attitude, Reites is an essential and beloved member of the team who has been inspiring students at SCU since he joined the community in 1975.
Allison Kopf, ’11, student project leader for the ’09 team, calls Reites “one of the most enthusiastic, hard-working people I’ve ever met. His pride in the project and excitement about the process encourage students to work to their fullest.” James Bickford, BSME ’08, who led the student team to their third place victory in 2007, agrees: “Father Reites is the Energizer Bunny of the Solar Decathlon program. He is an all-around great guy with a big heart, can-do spirit, and energy becoming that of a 20-year-old.”
Read more about Fr. Reites’ work with the SCU Solar Decathlon team here.
You can also view a video of Fr. Reites speaking about Team California at SCU’s website: