Solar home design competition

Solar Decathlon: The public flocked to see 20 solar powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon)
Solar Decathlon: The public flocked to see 20 solar powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon)
The Solar Decathlon is a competition in which 20 teams of college and university students compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The event took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., October 12 - 20.

To compete, the teams must design and build energy-efficient homes that are powered exclusively by the sun. The homes must be attractive and easy to live in. They must maintain a comfortable temperature, provide attractive and adequate lighting, power household appliances for cooking and cleaning, power home electronics, and provide hot water. These houses must also power an electric vehicle to meet household transportation needs.

The Solar Decathlon is 10 contests in one

Ten separate contests were scored, then added together to determine the winner of the Solar Decathlon. Each division below is linked to webpage for more information.

Winner: Technische Universitat Darmstadt

This team from Germany came to the Solar Decathlon hoping to have an impact on people, and it's safe to say that this happened. Darmstadt won the Architecture, Lighting, and Engineering contests. The Architecture Jury said the house pushed the envelope on all levels and is the type of house they came to the Decathlon hoping to see. The Lighting Jury loved the way this house glows at night. The Engineering Jury gave this team an innovation score that was as high as you could go, and said nobody did the integration of the PV system any better. Darmstadt was one of seven teams to score a perfect 100 points in the Energy Balance contest. All week, long lines of people waited to get into this house.solardecathlon.org

Learn more about the 2007 Solar Decathlon

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

If you are really into to building solar homes you can download the complete construction plans for each of these homes. They are found by going to he Teams webpage and clicking on the "more" link by the team you wish to download house plans from. I downloaded the plans for the German house. It was 137 pages! You can also find links for more information about each of the products used in these houses.

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 12:10pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

The Solar Decathlon was featured on Public Television's Jim Leher News Hour tonight. The audio can be downloaded from pbs.org in Quicktime or Real formats. They have a great slideshow, too (29 photos).

I wish the Science Museum of Minnesota could bring some of these solar houses to Saint Paul as an exhibit.

posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 7:31pm
Joe Bowman_'s picture
Joe Bowman_ says:

The Decathlon was great to see! The University of Minnesota is drafting an application for the 2009 Request for Proposals. We took a team of 8 student members out in 2 Prius hybrids, 2 students flew, 2 faculty flew, and even the IT Dean was able to stop by while he was out there in Washington DC.

It was quite an experience. We will be hosting some presentations about the project results and would enjoy your input. Stay tuned for more information about the UMN solar decathlon team. Thanks for posting info about the Decathlon on the Science Museum blog.

Joe Bowman

posted on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 4:11am

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