NEWSDAY Interview

The Energy Department has given each team $100,000 as seed money, plus an electric car they can use while they're building their projects. NYIT officials estimated the project's cost at about $400,000, half of which covers transporting it to Washington, where it will be reassembled on the National Mall for the competition Oct. 12-20.

The students are seeking in-kind and monetary donations as well as volunteers to help build the house, which they hope to complete by the end of the summer.

"Our ultimate message is this [solar energy] is a viable solution for the everyday homeowner," Rapka said.

Frank Mruk, associate dean of NYIT's School of Architecture and Design, sees this generation of students as the "tipping point" to help steer the nation toward a more energy-efficient strategic

way of living.

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