The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Appliances Contest is designed to mimic the appliance use of an average U.S. home. Teams earn points for operating their refrigerator and freezer, washing and drying laundry, running the dishwasher, and simulating cooking. Full points are awarded for:
- Maintaining the refrigerator temperature between 34°F (1.11°C) and 40°F (4.44°C)
- Keeping the freezer temperature between -20°F (-28.9°C) and 5°F (-1.5°C)
- Washing a load of laundry within a specified period of time
- Returning a load of laundry to a total weight less than or equal to its total weight before washing using active or passive drying methods
- Running the dishwasher through a complete, uninterrupted cycle, at some point during which a temperature sensor placed in the dishwasher has to reach 120°F (48.9°C)
- Simulating cooking by using a kitchen appliance to vaporize 5 pounds (80 oz or 2.268 kg) of water within a specified period of time.