Down the hill from Beaver Stadium on Penn State’s campus sits a home, but not an ordinary one.
It’s a 100 percent renewable energy-powered home, called MorningStar Solar Home. No one lives there; it was built for the 2007 Solar Decathlon and utilized for educational purposes.
On Wednesday, the home hosted a discussion for about a dozen students on the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team and David Tulauskas, sustainability director for General Motors.
The team is participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s EcoCAR 3 competition, which challenges 16 university teams to each redesign a Chevrolet Camaro (donated by GM).
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They’re modifying the vehicle to make it more efficient, but at the same time, still something a consumer would want to buy, said Gary Neal, a lecturer in Penn State’s College of Engineering and one of the team’s faculty advisers.
The team is made up of about 70 people, Neal said.
Tulauskas was visiting Penn State to meet with student groups working on various sustainability projects.
He told the PSU AVT students that social and environmental challenges are business opportunities.
Most of GM’s carbon footprint comes from vehicles, at 70 percent, Taulauskas said, with the total supply chain counting for 20 percent and operations making up the final 10 percent.
By 2050, GM is committed to being 100 percent powered by renewable energy, he said.
Undergrad Lauren Kokoskie, PSU AVT communications manager, asked how they can inspire the university and students to be more sustainable.
“Collaboration is really key,” Tulauskas said.
Tulauskas was also asked about marketing electric vehicles, which he said isn’t straightforward because the people who buy them are so diverse.
Electric vehicles are where the country is headed, he said, and the message that seems to resonate most with drivers: “It’s just a blast to drive.”