Photo of Team Austria celebrating their Solar Decathlon 2013 victory.

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

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Engineering Contest

(100 points)

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon houses represent the best of modern engineering. For the Engineering Contest, a jury of professional engineers evaluates each house for:

  • Innovation
    • Are unique approaches used to solve design challenges?
    • Do the innovations have market potential?
    • Does the design demonstrate market-leading technologies and engineering integration?

  • Functionality
    • Do the house systems enhance occupant comfort and house performance?
    • Does the HVAC system maintain uniform conditions via temperature control, humidity control, and air movement?
    • Do the HVAC system and thermal envelope minimize energy use?

  • Efficiency
    • Is energy efficiency and overall system performance considered? Compared with typical systems, how much energy is the design expected to save over a year?
    • Will controls help occupants reduce their energy consumption?
    • Is the engineering approach effective, efficient, and practical?

  • Reliability
    • Does the design address maintenance and owner operation of house systems?
    • How long are the systems expected to operate efficiently?

  • Documentation
    • Do the drawings, construction specifications, energy analysis results and discussion, and audiovisual presentation accurately reflect the constructed project?