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

Posts Tagged ‘Solar Decathlon 2013’

Technology Spotlight: Energy-Recovery Ventilation Systems

Monday, August 18, 2014

By Alexis Powers and Carol Laurie

Editor’s Note: This post is one of a series of technology spotlights that introduces common technologies used in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon team houses.

Good ventilation is vital for maintaining healthy indoor air quality. Houses built to modern energy efficiency standards, such as U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition houses, are tightly constructed to allow very little outside air to leak in. As a result, odors, chemicals, particles, and humidity can become trapped, increasing indoor air pollution.

Energy-recovery ventilation systems provide tightly constructed houses with fresh air while minimizing energy loss. These systems rely on heat exchangers to efficiently transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air supplies. There are two types of energy-recovery ventilation systems: heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy-recovery (or enthalpy-recovery) ventilators (ERVs). An HRV uses fans to pull fresh air into a house while simultaneously exhausting stale air. In the winter, the heat exchanger transfers heat energy from the warmer outgoing air to the cooler incoming air to reduce the need for heating. In the summer, the system reduces the need to cool incoming fresh air by sending the cooler exhaust air past the warm intake stream. An ERV goes one step further by controlling indoor humidity as well as temperature. An ERV transfers water vapor along with heat energy to keep the interior humidity constant.

These ventilation systems can recover 70%–80% of the energy from a house’s outgoing air supply to help maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

Photo of a box-shaped energy recovery ventilator inside a mechanical closet.

Team Ontario used this energy recovery ventilator in its “ECHO” house. Energy recovery ventilation systems help maintain a comfortable indoor environment by recovering 70%–80% of the energy from the outgoing air supply. Credit: Carol Laurie, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Several Solar Decathlon 2013 teams incorporated energy recovery ventilation technologies into their competition houses. Norwich University provided continuous ventilation of its “Delta T-90” house by using a multiunit HRV system that was 92% efficient, ductless, and whisper-quiet. Team Ontario (Queen’s University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College), which received first place in the Solar Decathlon 2013 Engineering Contest, used an ERV in its “ECHO” house to dramatically reduce the energy needed to condition indoor air.

Photo of the exterior of a modern house.

Norwich University used a multiunit HRV system that provided continuous ventilation in its Solar Decathlon 2013 “Delta T-90” house. Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Visit the Energy Savers website to learn more about energy-efficient ventilation systems.

Alexis Powers and Carol Laurie are members of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon communications team.

 

 

 

Solar Decathlon Takes First Place in Government Communicators Competition

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

By Carol Laurie

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 won first place in the special events category in the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards Competition. The award was announced last week during a reception and banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Wrote competition judge Cheryl V. Chambers of the U.S. Census Bureau: “This entry was flawless—a well-executed and interesting event, and a top-notch overall entry. Very comprehensive and impressive. Congratulations on the coverage, participation, and great metrics.”

Solar Decathlon 2013 gained the attention of millions through worldwide media coverage and attracted 64,000 visitors, who toured the solar-powered houses and learned about their energy-saving features.

Aerial photo of crowds of people visiting solar-powered houses that line both sides of a village street on a sunny day.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 attracted 64,000 visitors and gained the attention of millions through worldwide media coverage. The 2015 event will be held at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, Oct. 8–18. (Credit: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The NAGC Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards Competition, held in conjunction with the NAGC 2014 Communications School, salutes superior communications efforts of government agencies.

This joins a growing list of awards the Solar Decathlon has received over the past several years. These include:

  • 2013 OC Metro magazine’s Green Team Award
  • Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 2012 Bright Ideas in Government Award
  • Public Relations Society of America, 2012 Silver Anvil Award, Government Events, More Than Seven Days category
  • PR Daily’s Digital & Social Media 2012 Award for Best Government Social Media program
  • National Building Museum 2010 Honor Award.

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

Norwich University Receives Byron Stafford Award of Distinction

Monday, October 28, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

The Norwich University Solar Decathlon 2013 team received the Byron Stafford Award of Distinction at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Victory Reception on Oct. 12.Presented by Solar Decathlon Director Richard King’s wife, Melissa, the award is a tribute to Byron Stafford, who served as the event’s site operations manager from the first Solar Decathlon in 2002 until his death in May. A National Renewable Energy Laboratory senior scientist, Stafford was instrumental in formulating the competition rules and was dedicated to ensuring a safe competition and public exhibit. In 2009, his team installed the first Solar Decathlon village microgrid to distribute energy safely and reliably among the competition houses and to the utility grid.

Photo of Vivian Stafford shaking the hand of a Norwich University student at a reception.

Byron Stafford’s wife, Vivian, congratulates a Norwich University decathlete for the team’s receipt of the Byron Stafford Award of Distinction. (Credit: Melissa King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“Because of his amazing contributions to the Solar Decathlon, we remember Byron in words and deed,” said Melissa King. “Tonight, I want to recognize a team of decathletes that personifies all of Byron’s greatest qualities.”

She then announced Norwich University, creator of the Delta T-90 House, as the Solar Decathlon 2013 recipient of the Byron Stafford Award of Distinction for being “honest, caring, humble, intelligent, fair, reliable, steadfast, and genuine.”

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Wins People’s Choice Award

Sunday, October 13, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

The people have spoken. Today, UrbanEden, the solar-powered house from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 People’s Choice Award.

This award gives the public the opportunity to vote for its favorite house, and solar decathletes from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte accepted the award at a private Victory Reception at Hangar 244 in the Orange County Great Park—the last official event of Solar Decathlon 2013.

Photo of the interior of UrbanEden.

UrbanEden, which was built by students from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, won the Solar Decathlon 2013 People’s Choice Award. (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Designed as an urban infill project, UrbanEden has a variety of sustainability features, such as thermal mass, passive solar, and radiant energy as well as unique technologies that demonstrated true innovation, including radiant geopolymer concrete walls, movable photovoltaic shading, and a nighttime radiation emitter.

These technologies helped the team win a third-place award in the Engineering Contest. But what wins the People’s Choice Award is capturing the hearts of visitors. And their house is beautiful, with its light-filled rooms that open to a garden-rimmed outdoor deck, laminated bamboo cabinetry and paneling, and continuous ash flooring.

UrbanEden is a house people can imagine themselves living in. A house that could easily become a home.

See a virtual tour of UrbanEden and learn more about the house and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte team.

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.