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

Solar Decathlon Blog - Contests

Below you will find Solar Decathlon news from the Contests archive, sorted by date.

Vienna University of Technology Wins Solar Decathlon 2013!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

Team Austria from the Vienna University of Technology has won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013.

Photo of the exterior of LISI.

Team Austria’s LISI house is the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013. (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The first-time U.S. competitor consistently wowed juries with its LISI house, after winning first place in the Communications Contest, second place in Market Appeal, and tying for third place in Engineering.  In measured contests, Team Austria received first place in both the Hot Water and Energy Balance contests.

University of Las Vegas Nevada took second place in the overall competition, and Czech Technical University received third place.

The winner of the Solar Decathlon is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Results for the final juried contest, Engineering, were announced today prior to the overall competition winners. Team Ontario (Queen’s University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College) placed first.

Photo of the Team Ontario house.

The Engineering Contest first-place winner is Team Ontario (Queen’s University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College). (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“Team Ontario revealed a complete understanding of building science, a very good building envelope for the target climate, and excellent integration of passive and active strategies,” said Engineering Contest juror Kent W. Peterson of P2S Engineering. “We believe this team best demonstrated design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.”

Second place in Engineering went to Czech Technical University from the Czech Republic. Three teams shared third place: Team Austria from Vienna University of Technology, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and University of Nevada Las Vegas

The Engineering Contest jurors evaluate each house’s energy-efficiency savings, creative design innovations, and the functionality and reliability of each system.

See the Solar Decathlon website for final scoring results.

European Teams Top Architecture and Communications Contests

Friday, October 11, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

Czech Technical University took first place in the highly competitive Architecture Contest and Vienna University of Technology received top honors in the Communications Contest this morning at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013.

A jury of professional architects determined the Architecture Contest winners by assessing each house’s architectural elements, environmental compatibility and occupant comfort, design inspiration, and construction specifications.

Photo of the interior of AIR House.

The interior of Czech Technical University’s AIR House, which won first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Architecture contest, incorporates warm and natural wood finishes to create a comfortable place to dwell and reenergize. (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“The first-place winner, AIR House from Czech Technical University, provides a multitude of wonderful architectural experiences despite its simple and uncomplicated design,” said Architecture Contest juror Richard N. Swett of Climate PROSPERITY Enterprise Solutions LLC. “Using light and materials, this house creates a warm and inviting cocoon where indoor and outdoor living are intertwined with the elements of sun and nature.”

Stevens Institute of Technology won second place in the Architecture Contest for its house, Ecohabit. Third place went to the University of Southern California for fluxHome.

For the Communications Contest, a jury of communications professionals evaluated each team’s website, public exhibit materials, public tours, and audiovisual presentation for clear and consistent messages, representative images, and creative audience engagement.

Photo of Sandra Violand distributing handouts to visitors in line at the LISI house.

Sandra Violand, architecture student at Vienna University of Technology, which won first place in the Communications Contest, offers the team’s handout to visitors at the entrance of the LISI house. Voiland also wears the handout, which not only offers information about the team’s Solar Decathlon entry but can also be folded into a wearable crown. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“As a second-time juror, I was blown away by the amount of work and creativity the 2013 entries showed in their communications efforts,” said Communications Contest juror Mark Walhimer of Museum Planning LLC.  “The top teams represented a very high level of sophistication in their brand building.”

Second place in the Communications Contest went to University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Middlebury College took third place.

Walhimer said that the most successful teams in the Communications Contest were able to portray a lifestyle brand rather than merely conveying the technical features of their houses.

Engineering Contest results and the overall winner of Solar Decathlon 2013 will be announced tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 12.

Affordability and Market Appeal Contest Winners Announced!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Solar Decathlon

At an awards ceremony this morning, winners of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Affordability and Market Appeal contests took center stage by demonstrating that innovative, energy-efficient houses can be cost-effective and appealing to a variety of target markets.

Photo of Richard Anderson and Robert Best at a desk looking at paperwork.

The Affordability Contest juror, Richard Anderson, left, speaks with Robert Best from Stanford University during the Affordability Contest walkthrough. (Credit: Eric Grigorian/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Three teams tied for first place in the Affordability Contest by earning the full 100 points for achieving a target construction cost of $250,000 or less.  The winners are: Norwich University ($168,385), Stanford University ($234,092), and Kentucky/Indiana from University of Louisville, Ball State University, and University of Kentucky ($248,423).

Team Ontario from Queen’s University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College took second place ($257,584), and Middlebury College won third ($263,083).

The winners of the Solar Decathlon 2013 Affordability Contest have demonstrated that innovation in sustainable building can be achieved and implemented in real-world application,” said professional estimator Rich Anderson of Faithful + Gould. “These teams have delivered affordable, livable homes that are also attractive to everyday consumers.”

In the Market Appeal Contest, the University of Nevada Las Vegas wowed the jury and took home first place for its house, DesertSol, which is designed as a luxurious desert vacation retreat for a middle-aged, middle-to-upper-income, active couple.

Photo of the front façade of the DesertSol.

The University of Nevada Las Vegas won first place in the Solar Decathlon 2013 Market Appeal Contest. (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“The Market Appeal jurors loved the design of this house. The look, the feel, the energy blew us away,” said Susan Aiello, founder and president of Interior Design Solutions and U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Market Appeal juror. “Of all the houses we saw, we thought that DesertSol best met the needs and desires of its target market. I’d buy it!”

Team Austria from Vienna University of Technology won second place in Market Appeal. Tying for third place were Czech Technical University from the Czech Republic and Stanford University.

The Market Appeal Contest evaluates the livability, marketability, and constructability of each house and its appeal within the housing market of the target client chosen by each team. The Market Appeal Jury, composed of professionals from the sustainable housing homebuilding industry, evaluated the responsiveness of the house designs to the characteristics and requirements of these target clients.

Stay tuned for the announcement of tomorrow’s winners in the Communications and Architecture contests.

Dinner Parties Show Team Hospitality

Monday, October 7, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

If you’ve never thought of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon as a gourmet event, think again. Last night, 2013 teams rolled out their welcome mats for neighboring teams to host the second of two dinner parties of the Home Entertainment Contest.

During the Solar Decathlon competition, teams host two dinner parties, which are attended and judged by pairs of decathletes from three neighboring teams. Teams have two hours to prepare their dinner cuisine, which must be cooked and served in the team houses. These requirements prompt teams to focus on serving tasty meals that can be prepared quickly using little energy from the house.

Photo of a decathlete stirring a pan of food.

Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology prepares a meal in the team’s Solar Decathlon 2013 house for students from neighboring houses. (Credit: Eric Grigorian/U.S. Department of Energy)

So what did the teams prepare? The team dinner party menus (posted on each team page under “Team Deliverables”) include a variety of multi-course meals with main dishes such as beef roulades with mashed potatoes, pork chops with sauerkraut, and fresh pasta with seared shrimp, chard, pine nuts, lemon, and parmesan. Teams prepare different menus for each dinner party, and menus are often inspired by regional cuisine.

In addition to preparing food for their guests, team hosts plan ways to enhance party ambiance, encourage conversation among guests, help their fellow decathletes relax, and have fun. Dinner parties give teams a way to socialize with one another and share experiences over a meal.

For Solar Decathletes, Watching a Movie Is All in a Night’s Work

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Solar Decathlon

Everyone enjoys a good movie. But for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 teams, movies are also part of the Home Entertainment Contest, which is designed to demonstrate that the teams’ solar-powered houses can accommodate the pleasures of living. Neighboring decathletes act as jurors by awarding a host team points based on the quality of the food, ambiance, and overall experience.

Photo of two decathletes standing on either side of a television.

University of Southern California student decathletes Tyler Scott Zalmanzig, left, and Stephen Collins flank fluxHome’s home entertainment system. U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 teams hosted movie night for their neighbors in the Solar Decathlon village last night. (Credit: Carol Anna/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Last night, the teams hosted decathletes from neighboring houses to watch the James Bond thriller Skyfall. The University of Southern California hosted decathletes from Vienna Technical University, the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College, and Czech Technical University.

“We wanted our movie night to be social and informative—more of a meet and greet,” said Tyler Scott Zalmanzig, a University of Southern California decathlete who helped plan and host his team’s movie night. “We shared Solar Decathlon experiences and construction war stories.”

At fluxHome, Tyler and his team members served chocolate-dipped bananas, popcorn, and root beer floats to their guests.

“The Austrian and Czech Republic decathletes loved the root beer floats because they’d never had them before,” Tyler said. “We put ice cream in the glasses and then added root beer. They cheered. It was great!”

Tonight, teams host dinner parties for their neighbors. Follow the scoring of the Home Entertainment Contest, including movie night and tonight’s dinner parties, on the Solar Decathlon website.