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Open House April 14-16 for UW Solar Decathlon House Near Lander

March 3, 2023
house on snowy hill, seen from above
This aerial photo shows the UW Solar Decathlon Build Challenge house near Lander. A public open house is scheduled April 14-16. (Tony Denzer Photo)

The public is invited to an open house April 14-16 to demonstrate the features of a solar-powered home in the foothills of Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains that represents the entry by a team of University of Wyoming students in an international competition to design zero-energy buildings.

The open house is scheduled at the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home, located 10 miles southwest of Lander and overlooking Red Canyon, as part of the 2023 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 20th annual Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. Hours of the open house are noon-5 p.m. Friday, April 14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 15, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, April 16.

“We’re excited to invite Wyoming residents to tour the Wind River home,” says Anthony “Tony” Denzer, a professor and department head of UW’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management. “The objective of this project is to show Wyoming homebuilders and homeowners that a zero-energy house can be attractive and market-ready.”

To get to the house from Lander, take Highway 287 south 7.5 miles to Willow Creek Road; drive southwest on Willow Creek Road for 2.5 miles; turn left onto Bristlecone Road for one mile; then turn left onto Big Sky Road to 26 Big Sky Road and follow the signs.

The students from UW’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences are among 11 finalist teams -- selected from 23 collegiate institutions spanning four countries -- that have been awarded $50,000 in prize funding to build and exhibit their groundbreaking, zero-energy buildings this spring, when they will compete for grand prizes.

group of people standing inside unfinished house
People involved in the design and construction of the UW Solar Decathlon Build Challenge house pose for a photo earlier in the construction process. From left are: front row, Cory Toye, Timshel Construction; Emmanuel Iddio, a UW Ph.D. student in civil engineering from Ibadan, Nigeria; Dhawal Jain, an assistant lecturer and faculty adviser; and Jon Gardzelewski, an adjunct faculty adviser; middle row, Alison Carlo, a master’s degree student in architectural engineering from Pueblo, Colo.; Erin Christiansen, a junior in architectural engineering from Durango, Colo.; Brenna Jones, a junior in architectural engineering from Gillette; and Britt Bardman, a senior in Spanish from Reading, Pa.; back row, Samuel Spiker, a senior in construction management from Cheyenne; Nick Kulow, a junior in architectural engineering from Lander; and Travis Wicks, a senior in architectural engineering from Casper. (Tony Denzer Photo)

Students designed the UW Solar Decathlon Build Challenge house in a “minimal mountain modern” style. It has a super-insulated and air-tight envelope; advanced heating systems, including a heat pump and radiant floors; green building materials; and a large array of solar panels to ensure the home will produce more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. It is being built by Timshel Construction, led by UW alumnus Cory Toye, who is collaborating directly with the student design team.

The UW student team will showcase the home to jurors again at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory April 20-23 for the final awards.

“The student team is excited for this opportunity to compete on a national stage against some of the top schools of architecture,” says Dhawal Jain, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management, and one of the project advisers. “It is called the decathlon because there are 10 contests, ranging from architectural aesthetics to energy performance. Our team has been working diligently to be competitive in all of them.”

After the competition, the home, on its 6-acre lot, will be made available for sale.

To view the most recent 3D scan of the interiors of the house, visit

For more information about the event, email

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