Skip to main content
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • YouTube
  • Newsletter
  • Google+

Solar Decathlon Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Blog provides regular updates about Solar Decathlon news and events.

3 Days Remain! Nominate for the Solar Decathlon Alumni-Faculty Awards by Feb. 1

January 29, 2024

A photo of Holly Carr shaking hands with the 2023 Outstanding Faculty Advisor award winner: Edoarda Corradi Dell'Acqua
3 Days Remain! Nominate for the Solar Decathlon Alumni/Faculty Awards by Feb. 1

Only 3 days remain to nominate an outstanding U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® alumni or faculty lead for the Solar Decathlon Awards!

More »

Solar Decathlon Awards Nominations Open, SD Pro January Cohort, and More!

December 15, 2023

Three women smiling and looking at the camera, holding awards, against a backdrop with the Solar Decathlon logo.

SOLAR DECATHLON AWARDS

Nominate an Outstanding Solar Decathlon Alum or Faculty Member by Feb. 1!

Know a Solar Decathlon alum or faculty lead who should be celebrated for accomplishments in the buildings industry? Nominate them for the Solar Decathlon Alumni/Faculty Awards!

These annual awards are given to past U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon® participants at the student or faculty level who have made outstanding contributions to the transition to a clean energy economy.

Nominate by Feb. 1 to be considered. Winners will be announced in April 2024 at the Solar Decathlon Competition Event at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

Nominate today!

More »

Leading the Charge—105 Solar Decathlon Teams Tackle Zero Energy Building Designs

November 1, 2023

a work map showing the participating teams

105 teams from 93 collegiate institutions are leading the charge on tackling climate change by designing high-performance, zero energy buildings as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2024 Design Challenge.

More »

Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Update

October 27, 2023

This fall DOE will be engaging stakeholders to solicit feedback on an updated competition model for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon® Build Challenge. DOE is examining options that would align the structure and impact of the program to further support the Building Technologies Office’s decarbonization goals, building on the 20 years of demonstrated success of the Solar Decathlon. Because of the time needed to provide ample opportunity for stakeholder engagement and feedback, DOE will not hold a 2025 Build Challenge competition.

If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact Jaime Van Mourik at jaime.vanmourik@ee.doe.gov.

One Week Left to Register for the Solar Decathlon 2024 Design Challenge!

October 10, 2023

One Week Left to Register for the Solar Decathlon 2024 Design Challenge!

Students and faculty from the 2023 Design Challenge Howard University team pose with their trophy. (Photo by Vern Slocum, NREL)

Students and faculty from the 2023 Design Challenge Howard University team pose with their trophy. (Photo by Vern Slocum, NREL)

Only one week is left to register for the 2024 Design Challenge with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon®! 

The Design Challenge is an annual collegiate competition challenging interdisciplinary teams to create zero energy building designs that address real-world issues such as climate resilienceembodied carbonexisting building retrofits, and community impact.  

More »

Students/Mentors/Jurors—Join the Solar Decathlon 2024 Design Challenge by October 18!

September 21, 2023

Join the 2024 Design Challenge by October 18, 2023, to compete in, mentor, or judge the international zero energy building design competition.

Students from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, present their high-performance building design at NREL

Students from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, present their high-performance building design at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, during the Solar Decathlon 2023 Competition Event.

Less than four weeks remain to be a part of the 2024 Design Challenge with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon®!

More »

Join the Design Challenge Kickoff Webinar—9/5/23, 1 p.m. EDT

August 31, 2023

a group of students jumping for a team photo

Kick Off Your 2024 Design Challenge with the Competition Organizers!

Thinking about joining the 2024 Design Challenge?

Jump into your U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® competition experience at the Kickoff Webinar!

Join us on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at 1 p.m. EDT to hear about:

  • Design Challenge changes for 2024, including new division breakdowns and the 10 updated contests.
  • Mentor program opportunities for alumni and current teams.
  • Competition timelines, including the semifinal and final events.
  • And more…

Add the Sept. 5 Kickoff Webinar to your calendar today!

More »

Calling the Next Sustainable Building Professionals—Register for the Solar Decathlon 2024 Design Challenge

August 16, 2023

Are you a student or professor interested in transforming buildings to tackle the climate crisis?

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is seeking collegiate student participants from diverse majors to join the next round of the zero energy building design competition. Students from collegiate institutions in the United States and around the world are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams and register!

More »

Join the Solar Decathlon High School Program as an Alumni Mentor!

August 8, 2023

A man stands in front of a crowded room of seated students.

A Solar Decathlon alum gives a STEM career talk to high school students.

Solar Decathlon Pathways (SD Pathways) is back this fall, bringing STEM career talks to U.S. high school classrooms—and we are looking for alumni and educators to participate!

SD Pathways introduces high school students to clean energy and STEM careers by connecting them with U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® alumni.

More »

Calling the Next Generation of Sustainable Building Professionals—Solar Decathlon Announces 2024 Design Challenge

June 22, 2023

Several students and faculty pose with scale models of their sustainable building designs.

Solar Decathlon 2023 Design Challenge teams showcase models of their sustainable building designs during the Competition Event at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Photo by Vern Slocum, NREL.

Are you a collegiate student interested in transforming buildings to serve communities and the planet? The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is seeking student participants from diverse majors to join the next round of the zero-energy building design competition.

The Design Challenge is an annual design competition challenging interdisciplinary teams of collegiate students to create high-performance, low-carbon building designs that address real-world issues related to climate resilience, affordability, and environmental justice.

More »

Join the Solar Decathlon Professionals summer cohort with USGBC-June 7 to Aug. 9, 23 CEUs available!

May 8, 2023

This advanced-level course is for those familiar with building sciences who want to gain practical experience with zero energy projects or instruction.

a rendering of a home

Zero energy building rendering courtesy of Deborah Lin Pérez Centeno, former SD Pro participant.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is partnering with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to host the next Solar Decathlon Professionals Program (SD Pro) cohort!

More »

DOE Announces 21st Annual Solar Decathlon Winners

April 24, 2023

Ball State University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and The Cooper Union Named 2023 Build and Design Challenge Winners

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the winners of the 21st annual Solar Decathlon®, DOE’s longest-running student competition. The annual collegiate contest challenges the next generation of building professionals to design and construct high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy, while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities in the buildings industry. Ball State University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art won the top honors at this year’s competition and were announced at the Solar Decathlon Competition Event at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado yesterday.
More »

Visit a Solar Decathlon Zero Energy Home Near You through April 18!

April 5, 2023

Visit a Solar Decathlon Zero Energy Home Near You through April 18!

Solar Decathlon participants in front of their house


Eleven collegiate teams competing in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2023 Build Challenge are hosting community open houses for their zero energy homes through April 18.

The teams, located across the globe, have spent nearly two years designing and building full-size, high-performance, low-carbon, zero energy houses for the competition. These dwellings demonstrate creative solutions to real-world climate issues, as well as long-term durability for local environmental conditions.

Additionally, these homes are built in communities across the country and around the world so more people can see them.

Learn when, where you can visit

Solar Decathlon: Cementing Foundations in Decarbonization Careers

March 24, 2023

an aerial view of a building with solar panels on the roof, and the Legence and solar decathlon logo on the top.

Photo by Adobe Stock

headshot of Deborah CloutierBy Deborah Cloutier, Chief Sustainability Officer, Legence

The Solar Decathlon empowers thousands of talented students to take up careers in the clean economy, producing tangible benefits for numerous companies, including Legence.

In 2009, the Solar Decathlon is where three soon-to-be Legence employees—Ben Hobbs, Drew Roberts, and Johnathan Stewart—got their impressive start in net-zero energy design, setting the foundation for their lifelong work at CMTA, a Legence company. Throughout the competition, they designed and built the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems of a net-zero energy-efficient house.

More »

Fifty-Seven Teams Advance to Solar Decathlon 2023 Design Challenge Final

February 27, 2023

Renderings from a selection of Solar Decathlon 2023 Design Challenge finalist teams.

Renderings from a selection of Solar Decathlon 2023 Design Challenge finalist teams.
Graphic by NREL

Fifty-seven teams from 63 collegiate institutions have earned a spot in the final stage of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2023 Design Challenge.

“Solar Decathlon has pioneered energy efficient building designs for more than two decades; this year’s finalist teams showed there is always room to push the envelope on zero energy buildings,” said Rachel Romero, Design Challenge competition manager.

Finalist teams were selected at the Semifinal Competition Event, held virtually February 24–25, 2023.  Teams presented their zero energy building designs to a panel of industry experts and finalists were selected based on their innovations, technical plans, and the quality of their presentations.

The competition includes residential and commercial designs in six different divisions: New Housing, Retrofit Housing, Attached Housing, Multifamily Building, Office Building, and Education Building. Up to 10 teams were selected in each of the contest divisions.

Finalist teams will compete to win their division, and possibly become one of two overall grand winners, at the hybrid Solar Decathlon Competition Event, April 20–23, 2023, in Golden, Colorado, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The event will also include virtual participation options, networking sessions, and the announcement of the 2023 Build Challenge winners.

“As the premier sponsor for Solar Decathlon this year, we are thrilled to honor the finalist teams in the Design Challenge,” said Deb Cloutier, chief sustainability officer at Legence. “The experience students gain during this program is foundational to the design of energy-efficient and sustainable buildings in real life—some of our best engineers today are Solar Decathlon graduates.”

Join the awards ceremony livestream on April 23, 2023, 10 a.m. EDT, to see which finalist teams earn the grand prizes this year!

2023 Design Challenge finalist teams by division:

New Housing Division

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
  • Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
  • Monash University, Clayton, Australia
  • The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • The University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
  • University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

Retrofit Housing Division

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
  • Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
  • Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Johnson College, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

Attached Housing Division

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; Hanoi University of Civil Engineering, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • The University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia; Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia
  • Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Ontario
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

Multifamily Building Division

  • Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
  • Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York; Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
  • Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Ontario
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Alexandria, Virginia

Office Building Division

  • Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
  • Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
  • Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, India
  • Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar, India
  • Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • Monash University, Clayton, Australia
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

Education Building Division

  • Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
  • Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
  • Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • Myongji University, Seoul, South Korea
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York City, New York
  • The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia; British Columbia Institute of Technology, Burnaby, British Columbia
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of North Texas, Denton, Texas; Al Hussein Technical University, Amman, Jordan

Archives

Categories

Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS)