Civil & Environmental Engineering senior Alex Ratcliff has worked to increase solar power capacity at the University of Washington throughout his time as a student. Since joining the UW Solar student group as a freshman, Ratcliff has helped oversee new solar installations on the residence halls Maple, Alder and Elm, as well as working on solar installations for the new Life Sciences building.
Photos by Rosemary Reyes
The new Life Sciences Building under construction next to the Burke Gilman Trail features floor-to-ceiling windows all along the south side. The windows allow the sun to naturally light the space, but that sunlight also presents a problem.
In the summer, direct sunlight would overheat the building. Instead of relying on air conditioning, the team behind the building’s design found a unique solution.