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

Posts Tagged ‘Solar Decathlon Europe 2010’

Congratulations to Virginia Tech and Solar Decathlon Europe

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Virginia Tech took top honors to a standing ovation at the Solar Decathlon Europe awards ceremony today in Madrid, Spain. The decathletes were ecstatic to finally win after participating in four Solar Decathlons. And this was the closest margin of victory in a Solar Decathlon. Virginia Tech won by less than a point!

Rank Team Score
1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University 811.83
2 University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim 810.96
3 Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences 807.49
4 Ecole National Supérieure d’architecture de Grenoble 793.84
5 Aalto University, Finland 777.01
8 University of Florida 743.22

Virginia Tech participated in the 2002, 2005, and 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlons. For the faculty advisors who have nurtured three teams of students over 10 years, this victory is sweet. The professors were overjoyed, and the students were jumping and dancing on stage and hugging and high-fiving one another.

Photo of a group of students and faculty members in matching shirts on a stage. One student holds a trophy. Another holds an American flag.

The Virginia Tech team displays its first-place trophy.

Virginia Tech had practice on its side, having competed in 2009 in the United States on the National Mall. It was one of the first teams to finish assembling its house and get connected to the grid. Then, when the team won the Architecture contest, it shot out front and never looked back. Although the margin of victory was extremely close, the team maintained focus and had a quiet confidence about it. It was a remarkable victory under formidable odds.

Congratulations also go to the Rosenheim and Stuttgart teams. Both have beautiful houses. Rosenheim nipped at Virginia Tech’s heels all week and almost pulled ahead. Stuttgart won the solar system contest on the last day of judging, which catapulted it from fourth to third.

Photo of a group of students in matching shirts cheering on a stage.

The University of Florida team celebrates being voted the people’s choice in online voting.

The University of Florida finished eighth. The team was very happy and satisfied with its effort. And it won the online people’s choice award! Way to go, Florida! The Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña won the most paper votes in the village.

The Spanish Ministry of Housing hired a firm that specializes in estimating the size of crowds by taking photos and calculating area and density. The ministry reported that 191,000 people visited the Villa Solar in Madrid, which surpasses the numbers estimated to have visited the National Mall for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009. This is just more evidence that the inaugural Solar Decathlon Europe was a big success.

The Virginia Tech team plans to disassemble its house and be back in the United States by Friday, July 2. Its house, on the other hand, is not expected at the Baltimore harbor until August.

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Throughout the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers are reporting from Madrid.

Solar Decathlon Europe Decathletes Inspire

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When I first arrived many days ago, I was so excited, I ran down to the Villa Solar to see what the teams were building. What I found was inspiration. I was inspired by the designs and the hard work.

Photo of a line of people waiting on the deck of the Armadillo Box house.

Visitors wait for a chance to see the interior of École National Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble’s Armadillo Box.

When everyone first arrived, there were 17 teams of decathletes, totaling 500 students and faculty members, working independently along a vast stretch of excavated earth and sand along the river. The weather changed. The first day, they could hardly see one another because the wind created a dust storm. The next day, they struggled in rain. Several needed to pump water from around their house. Mud was everywhere. A couple of days later, the strong June sun came out, and by noon, it was so hot it hurt. But the teams and organizers pushed on. In 12 days, they built more than 17 inspiring houses; they built an inspiring village—the first Solar Decathlon village in Europe. Working side by side, they also built friendships and bonds forged with their university peers.

Finally, on Thursday, June 17, the Villa Solar was complete, and as they all lifted their heads to look at what they had built (because none had the time to stop and appreciate it when they were so busy), the sense of accomplishment filled their souls and brightened their faces.

Photo of the Villa Solar, which stretches along a river. People walk along pathways on both sides.

Visitors explore Solar Decathlon Europe’s Villa Solar.

After a spectacular opening ceremony, the village was opened to VIPs, sponsors, and the public. Thousands poured into the village to see the houses and talk to the decathletes. Eager to learn and excited to see first-hand, people lined up for hours and wouldn’t leave until forced out after closing.

The excitement heightened as the competition began in earnest. Decathletes washed the dirt from their hands, put their tools away, and put on their bright, clean team uniforms. The task at hand now was to score points. With instrumentation in place and judges passing through, soon we could all see differentiation among the houses. All the houses had attributes that stood out, so the judging was difficult and the scoring very close. As we stand here on Saturday, the contest is still too close to call.

After everything the decathletes have been through the past two years to get to Madrid, build their inspiring village, and help educate thousands, maybe we should stop now to send a message—they are all winners.

It takes creativity to design a decathlon house. Strength to build it. Ingenuity to power it. And perseverance to get it here and compete. Leaders make that happen.

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Throughout the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers are reporting from Madrid.

Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences Wins Innovation Contest at Solar Decathlon Europe

Friday, June 25, 2010

Photo of people waiting and relaxing on the decks of the Stuttgart house.

The Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences won Solar Decathlon Europe’s Innovation contest.

Congratulations to the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences team for filling its house full of innovative technology. Today, points were awarded by all the juries at Solar Decathlon Europe for innovation. These points were added up to determine the winners of the Innovation contest.

At this afternoon’s award ceremony, the first-, second-, and third-place teams were announced. However, the points are being kept secret until Sunday evening to add suspense. But with the overall standings so very close—the top three teams (Virginia Tech, École National Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble, and the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim) are within a few points of one another—who needs more suspense?

The final award ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, June 27. The village will be open all weekend for public tours. We expect huge crowds. This will keep everyone very busy so the time flies as we all wait for the culmination of this amazing competition.

According to the Solar Decathlon Europe press release:

The team from Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences with the solar house Stuttgart Team has received first place in the Innovation contest. Arts et Métiers Paris Tech and École National Supèrieure d´Architecture de Grenoble have been awarded second and third place, respectively.

In this subjective contest, points were given from measurements in the solar houses, and the grade of creativity and innovation in each project has been evaluated along with contributions that demonstrated an incremental or revolutionary change of the design of the house, its systems, or its components and that increase its value or function.

The ranking earned by the teams in this contest is:

1  Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences
2  Arts et Métiers Paris Tech
3  École National Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble
4  Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera
5  Bergische Universität Wuppertal
6  University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim
7  Universidad de Sevilla
8  Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
9  Aalto University Finland
10  Universidad de Valladolid
11  Fanchhoschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin
12  Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña
13  University of Nottingham
14  University of Florida
15  Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña
16  Tongji University Shanghai
17  Tianjin University

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Throughout the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers are reporting from Madrid.

Arts et Métiers Paris Tech Wins Solar Decathlon Europe Sustainability Contest

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Photo of a group of students and faculty members cheering. One person holds a framed certificate.

The Arts et Métiers Paris Tech team accepts its first-place award for Sustainability.

This afternoon at 5 p.m., the awards for the Sustainability contest were presented. Sustainability is one Solar Decathlon Europe contest that is not in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. It is worth 120 points, and it evaluates how green a house is. Equal to the Architecture contest in points, Sustainability is a contest many European teams designed their houses around in the hopes of acquiring an advantage. For Arts et Métiers Paris Tech, its green roof and recycled materials really paid off. The University of Nottingham, with its high-density urban solution, took second place.

Here are the complete Sustainability scores, according to the Solar Decathlon Europe press release:

Rank Team Score
1 Arts et Métiers Paris Tech 120
2 University of Nottingham 115
3 Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences 110
4 École National Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble 100
4 Fanchhoschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin 100
4 Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña 100
7 University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim 95
7 Bergische Universität Wuppertal 95
7 Aalto University Finland 95
10 Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera 90
10 University of Florida 90
12 Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña 85
12 Universidad de Sevilla 85
12 Universidad de Valladolid 85
12 Tongji University Shanghai 85
16 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 70
17 Tianjin University 60

The University of Florida and Virginia Tech did not do very well in the Sustainability contest. This is particularly understandable for Virginia Tech because it designed its house for the U.S. Solar Decathlon and not so much for the European competition. Florida ended up in eleventh place with 90 points out of 120, and Virginia Tech received 70 points and sixteenth place.

These results made a real competition out of Solar Decathlon Europe. Virginia Tech now leads the overall competition by only one point, and the top three teams are separated by only two points!

Tonight, all the teams will cook dinners for their neighbors. The dinner parties start at 9 p.m. and sound wonderful. The Spanish team members from Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera have invited me to have dinner with them and six other decathletes tonight. I can’t wait. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Throughout the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers are reporting from Madrid.

Competition Intensifies at Solar Decathlon Europe

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too close to call! Virginia Tech had a commanding 35-point lead at Solar Decathlon Europe earlier this week, but the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim has cut that lead to only six points now. With only today and tomorrow left to score performance-based points, everything the teams do—from hot water draws to cooking to washing to cooling their houses—really makes a difference. Every point counts. 

The current leaders’ scores are:

Virginia Tech   449
University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim 443
Ecole National Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble 438
Aalto University 413
Bergische Universität Wuppertal 406
University of Florida 396
Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences 395

All the juries have now gone through the houses and made their evaluations. As of today, there are three more subjective contests to be awarded:

Sustainability Thursday at 5 p.m.
Innovation Friday at 9 p.m.
Solar Systems and Hot Water   Sunday at 7 p.m.

The organizers are holding the last announcement (Solar Systems and Hot Water) until just before the final, overall award ceremony to provide drama and excitement. As you can see, this competition is still too close to call.

The people’s choice award will be announced Saturday evening, so if you haven’t voted for your favorite team yet, you are running out of time! You can vote at www.sdeurope.org.

On another note, as we move into the final days of competition, it has become hot! We started out with rain and cool temperatures, but now it is very hot and sunny. Every day has brought perfectly clear, cloudless skies. The teams have been producing large surpluses of electricity. The city of Madrid is happy to have all the extra power!

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Throughout the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers are reporting from Madrid.