Team Maryland has engaged K-12 students in a variety of ways throughout WaterShed’s process, most notably working with a group of students from The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. Students from The Potomac School attended meetings of the WaterShed team and followed the progress of the project as the collegiate team weighed options and finalized WaterShed’s design. McKenzie Klein of The Potomac School along with Jeff Rappaport and Jay Chmilewski of Team Maryland spent the winter and spring creating a novel solution for measuring the concentration of lithium chloride in the Liquid Desiccant Waterfall that Team Maryland uses to remove humidity from the house. Together with Dr. Keith Herold, a member of the University’s Bio-Engineering faculty, the team created a device that electronically determines the Lithium Chloride concentration without placing any metal in contact with the highly corrosive substance.
The Liquid Desiccant Waterfall featured in WaterShed advances patent-pending technology developed by Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 LEAFHouse team. This second-generation technology utilizes a salty Lithium Chloride solution in a completely regenerative cycle to remove humidity from the air. Removing humidity from WaterShed’s interior spaces decreases the latent load on the mini-split heat system and helps save energy and money while heating and cooling WaterShed.
When summer break arrived for The Potomac School, nine students joined the UMD team on the construction site each day where they prepared wood siding and decking for installation and worked with the environmental science students to prepare the constructed wetlands ands green roof. Eventually deemed “Team Awesome” by their college mentors, these students had a front row view of not only the construction process but also of the many variables that must be managed and integrated as part of creating a sustainable structure.
Senior civil engineering major Evan Smith, one of WaterShed’s construction managers said, “It was good to work with people who at a young age are interested in learning about living more sustainably. It was great to see their construction knowledge improve over the course of the summer.”
Working with students from The Potomac School helped Team Maryland inspire future Decathletes, building on the University’s Solar Decathlon legacy.