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Laney College Wins Big in Tiny House Competition

18 October 2016


On Saturday, October 15, the winners of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) “Tiny House Competition – Build Small and Win Big” contest were announced on the campus of Consumnes River College.  Teams were awarded trophies and monetary prizes.  Laney College of Oakland – one of the four colleges of the Peralta Community College District that includes Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Merritt College, also in Oakland – won $4000 as the winner of the Architecture category for their entry “The Wedge.”  Laney students also won 4 other categories: Best Design, Best Furnishings, Best Landscaping and Best Video.

The Tiny House Competition is a new competition in the Sacramento region, challenging collegiate teams to design and build net-zero, tiny solar houses.  The event was open to all colleges and universities in California.  Participation promoted an interest in energy conservation, energy efficiency and green building and solar technologies.  SMUD’s Energy Education & Technology Center and Community Solar programs were sponsors of this event.  The categories of the competition included architectural design, livability, communication, affordability, energy efficiency and balance, appliance load, technology/electrical and mechanical systems, transportation, sustainability and documentation.  The competition had stringent requirements not only regarding student participation, but also requiring that all houses to use solar energy.  The Laney house was designed to be “zero net energy.”

The Competition
 was modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. An educator or other school administrator mentored each team.  During the two years leading up to the event, students designed and built energy-efficient houses. A stipend between $3,000 – $8,000 was provided. After the awards
were handed out, students exhibited their houses to the public and the media.

“Congratulations to the whole Laney College team members that were involved in the construction this tiny house” said Laney College President Dr. Patricia Stanley, EdD.  “It’s a fine example of a booming trend in affordable housing.”.

At Laney College, leadership in coordinating entry was handled by Cynthia Correia Department Chair of the Carpentry Department, with the help of Dean Peter Crabtree and Larry Chang.  The building of “The Wedge” was a lot of work that was completed with a lot of help from faculty who mentored the Laney students.  Ron Betts, advised in the area of Architecture; Forough Hashemi helped with the Electrical; Matt Wolpe and Karl Seelbach, both from the Laney Carpentry Department, helped with building; Theresa Halula, of the Merritt College Landscape Horticulture Department, supervised the landscaping.

To see photos of “The Wedge” please visit the website:

Filed under: Announcements, Laney College, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Laney College Receives $3.5 Million National Science Foundation Award

5 December 2012

Laney College Receives $3.5 Million National Science Foundation Award
Goal to Create National Center for Building Efficiency Technician Education

Laney College and its partners recently were awarded a prestigious $3.5 million, 4-year Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant from the National Science Foundation. Together with several other community colleges and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Laney will start up and lead the new Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center. The BEST Center is the first National Science Foundation center to be dedicated to building systems technology and operations.

The aim of the Center is to promote building technician education, which improves energy-efficient and sustainable building operations in the United States. Technicians include building operators/ engineers and specialists in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R), lighting, controls, building automation, and energy management. Because homes and commercial facilities consume over 40% of energy used in the United States, technicians are vital for ensuring that buildings perform with comfort and reliability while reducing environmental impact and carbon footprint.

“The National Science Foundation award will allow Laney College to become a national hub for advocacy in this crucial area of climate change abatement through efficiency,” says Peter Crabtree, Principal Investigator and Dean of Career and Technical Education at Laney College.

“Building technicians are becoming increasingly important agents of sustainability efforts. Having been supported by NSF for the past eight years to develop cutting-edge curriculum, we are honored to offer our expertise along with our partner institutions to make a significant impact in this country.”

To carry out its mission, the Center is partnering with a network of colleges from around the country. Key partners include Georgia Piedmont Technical College in metro Atlanta and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley are also key partners. The Center will advocate for energy-efficient buildings, advance community college programs in building technician fields, work with businesses and research labs, and strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) pathways from high school to college. The BEST Center will develop and distribute educational resources, host instructor workshops, and support collaborations to meet the urgent need for skilled workers in sustainable building operations.

For more information, contact Peter Crabtree, Dean of Career and Technical Education at Laney College, 510-464-3218

Filed under: Laney College, Press Release. Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Peralta Colleges

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