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Photo of Solar Decathlon Director Richard King being interviewed by a videographer.

Teams Prove Solar Houses Can Be Affordable

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

By Carol Anna

Note: Corrections to the Affordability Contest results were announced Sept. 30, 2011.

Proving that the cost of “going green” is decreasing, two teams tied for first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Affordability Contest. Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology (which includes Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School) built Empowerhouse for less than $230,000. Purdue University’s INhome came in at just less than $250,000. These teams earned 100 points for achieving a target construction cost of $250,000 or less, as evaluated by a professional cost estimator.

Results of the Affordability Contest were announced today in the solar village. Team Belgium (Ghent University) received second place in the contest, with its E-Cube, which was priced at $251,147. In third place was The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s CHIP, which was estimated to cost $262,495.

“These 2011 teams have shown that solar houses can be affordable while still being innovative,” said Matt Hansen, Affordability Contest juror.

The Affordability Contest has had an impact on the design of Solar Decathlon competition houses. Compared to Solar Decathlon 2009 houses, the Solar Decathlon 2011 houses are estimated to cost 33% less. 

Carol Anna is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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