University of Kansas grad students build rooftop solar project

University of Kansas rooftop solar

Students from the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design built a house outfitted with a 16-panel rooftop solar system as part of a graduate degree program.

The 432 Indiana Street House is the 16th consecutive LEED Platinum project completed by Studio 804, a hands-on learning program at the University of Kansas for graduate students in their final year of studies seeking a Master of Architecture degree. Founded in 1995 by Professor Dan Rockhill, each year students design, procure and execute a complete house in just nine months.

The 1800-square-foot home and adjacent 500-square-foot accessory dwelling unit is located in the historic Pinkney Neighborhood, one of the oldest in the city of Lawrence, Kansas. It is a short walk to parks, the Kansas (KAW) River and the cultural vibrancy of downtown Lawrence. It is a perfect location to appreciate the history of Lawrence while addressing the future of sustainable living.

Through a partnership, S-5! donated snow retention and solar attachments for the annual student-led, design-build project.

“Each year, we complete a house or a university-related commercial building, alternating between standing seam roof and flat roof projects,” said Rockhill. “For each metal roof project, we incorporate S-5! Normally, we prefer a pitched roof form and a high gable roof to take advantage of the full interior height without interruption to the floor plan, so directly attaching the PVKIT to the standing seams makes our job quite easy in comparison to the alternative flat roof system, which requires a fairly expensive support system. Integrating into the standing seam saves us thousands of dollars, and S-5! is quick and easy to install.”

The students had clearly defined sustainability goals and set out to achieve LEED platinum status with a solar PV mounting system that provided a simple, economical and penetration-free method for attachment of modules to the roof. The students reached out to S-5! as they were familiar with the products utilized on previous Studio 804 metal roof projects. 

S-5! donated its PVKIT direct-attach solar mounting system to mount a 16-panel solar array of Q-Cell Q.Peak Duo 400 W modules to the 24-gauge matte black standing seam metal roof. The system is expected to offset approximately 85% of the homeowner’s energy consumption.

After the solar system installation was completed, Studio 804 again turned to S-5! for a fully engineered snow retention system that would both match the roof and last the life of the roof. S-5! donated its ColorGard snow retention system—custom-designed and engineered for this project to mitigate any potential rooftop avalanches which could cause harm to residents or property below.

“We are happy to support such an impressive program that provides significant educational value to students and teaches them early on in their careers about the importance of utilizing quality products and best practices for installation,” said Rob Haddock, CEO and founder of S-5! “The students will be able to take that knowledge with them when entering the workforce.”

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