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Solar Decathlon Blog

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

Department of Energy Announces Postponement of Solar Decathlon 2020 Summer Events and Webinar on May 27

May 22, 2020

The grand winner trophies

Gain a once-in-a-lifetime experience by applying for the next Solar Decathlon Design Challenge and Build Challenge. Photo by Vern Slocum/NREL.

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® postponed its 2020 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge from June 2020 to April 16-18, 2021. The event, originally scheduled to be part of the 2020 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, will move from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, where it will coincide with the Solar Decathlon 2021 Design Challenge competition. The 2022 Build Challenge will take place in 2023. More »

Amanda Kirkeby is #SDLivingTheDream:
From Solar Decathlon student team to event organizing team

May 18, 2020

Our #SDLivingTheDream series continues with a recent alum from the Design Challenge who actually went on to work behind the scenes with the event’s staff, including posting to our social media channels for last month’s completely virtual event.

Amanda Kirkeby working in the lab at NREL on Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) research, an alternative method of power distribution in buildings.

…………………

Name: Amanda Kirkeby

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2018 Design Challenge

University team: Middlebury Zero Energy School Team (Middlebury College)

Current organization / employer: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Current role: Post-graduate intern with the Applied Engineering group More »

#SDLivingTheDream,
Rodrigo Castro:
The Use of Energy Performance as a Design Input

April 22, 2020

A headshot of Rodrigo Castro

We’re continuing our special series to highlight alumni of both the Build Challenge and the Design Challenge of Solar Decathlon, and how their experiences with the event have shaped their careers and lives. This time on #SDLivingTheDream, it’s Rodrigo Castro.

…………………

Name: Rodrigo Castro, PhD

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2011

University team: Team Florida (University of Florida)

Current organization / employer: Bionova Ltd.

Current role: Senior LCA Expert

 

More »

Solar Decathlon Design Challenge Winners Showcase Efficient, Affordable, Innovative Buildings in Virtual Event

April 20, 2020

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge recognized and awarded two Grand Winners – one from the residential division and one from the commercial building division. The 2020 Design Challenge culminated in a virtual event, April 17-19, 2020.

More »

Design Challenge Weekend Will Be a Completely Virtual Event

March 19, 2020

Due to the recent health concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Design Challenge Weekend (April 17–19) will be transitioned to a completely virtual event with a similar schedule. There will be no in-person activities at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or the adjacent Denver West Marriott hotel.

The revised agenda for the virtual Design Challenge Weekend and an addendum to the Competition Rules outlining changes due to the virtual nature of the event have been posted.

More »

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Opens Nominations for the 2020 Richard King Award

March 10, 2020

A group of people holding a solar decathlon banner.

The Solar Decathlon teams cheer ahead of the start of competition at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, on October 3, 2013. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is accepting nominations for this year’s Richard King Award in two categories: Outstanding Faculty Advisor and Outstanding Student Alumna/Alumnus.

The Richard King Award honors the founder of the Solar Decathlon. After establishing the Solar Decathlon in 2000, Richard directed the competition until his retirement from the Department of Energy in 2015. This award was created in 2017 when it was first presented to honor Richard at the Solar Decathlon in 2017 in Denver, Colorado.

Awardees will be selected based on their contributions to the transition to a clean energy economy.

Learn more about eligibility criteria and nomination forms.

The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, April 24, 2020.

The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The winners will be the teams that best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production.

Learn more about the Solar Decathlon.

#SDLivingTheDream,
Teresa Hamm Modley:
Designing, Building and Beyond

March 9, 2020

We’re continuing our series, #SDLivingTheDream, highlighting alumni of both the Build Challenge and Design Challenge and how their time in the competition 

has shaped their careers and their lives. This month, it’s an alum of *both* Challenges.

…………………

Name: Teresa Hamm Modley

Year participated in Solar Decathlon:

  1. 2011 Solar Decathlon (as a team partner for the Empowerhouse, I worked for Habitat for Humanity of DC)
  2. 2017-2018 Race to Zero, Elementary School Division More »

U.S. Department of Energy Signs Memorandum of Understanding with India for Solar Decathlon India Competition in 2021

March 5, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide collaboration and support to India in the establishment of Solar Decathlon India in 2021.

“India is joining an international family of Solar Decathlons that is preparing students all over the world to design and build homes integrated with advanced energy technologies while ensuring affordability and comfort,” said Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Following President Trump and Secretary Brouillette’s visit to India, we are excited to continue collaborating with India on science and technologies that foster innovation through the power of competition.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is a longstanding collegiate competition that challenges students to design and build high-performance, energy-efficient homes powered by renewable energy. Solar Decathlon India joins five other international competitions in Europe, China, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, and Africa.

The MOU, signed today by Assistant Secretary of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Daniel R Simmons, and the Executive Director of the India U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), Dr. Nandini Kannan, allows DOE to collaborate with IUSSTF and its partners on the framework for the 2021 competition.

As part of the competition, university teams compete in 10 contests ranging from architecture and engineering to resilience and market potential.  The winners are those teams that best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation in how their building interacts with the world around it. To date, more than 40,000 students have participated in U.S. and international Solar Decathlon editions. The competition is a vehicle for workforce development, clean energy outreach, and technology demonstration.

The next U.S. Solar Decathlon will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from June 24 through July 5, 2020 as a part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. For more information, visit www.solardecathlon.com.

Solar Decathlon Design Challenge Finalist Teams Announced; Countdown Begins

March 2, 2020

Six weeks and counting! This year’s finalist teams for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge are vying to be one of two Grand Winners during the Design Challenge Weekend, April 17-19, 2020, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

Students from 48 teams representing 36 collegiate institutions have taken a big step in advancing their education and careers by being selected as members of finalist teams.

More »

Local Issues, Global Impacts: Confessions of a Globe-Trotting Juror

February 11, 2020

I have a confession to make. My name is Stacy Hunt, and I’m a serial juror for the international editions of Solar Decathlon. It’s okay, the addiction is self-limiting and mostly benign. 🙂

That said, I’m in pretty deep at this point. In 2019, I had the opportunity to be a juror at all three international competitions: July in Budapest, Hungary for Solar Decathlon Europe, September in Marrakech, Morocco, for Solar Decathlon Africa, and most recently in Cali, Colombia for Solar Decathlon Latin America and Caribbean.

More »

#SDLivingTheDream,
Bennett Doherty:
Solar Decathlon Introduced Me to This Field

February 10, 2020

We’re continuing our series, #SDLivingTheDream, highlighting alumni of both the Build Challenge and Design Challenge and how their time in the competition has shaped their careers and their lives.

…………………

Name: Bennett Doherty

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2018 Design Challenge

University team: Middlebury College

Current organization / employer: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Current role: Research Engineer in the Commercial Buildings Group

More »

Check Out What’s New with Solar Decathlon!

January 15, 2020

Want to create buildings that help address the most pressing needs of our time? Love the thrill of competing with top students across the country and around the world? If so, the U.S Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is for you!

More »

#SDLivingTheDream,
Dylan Weber Callahan:
Learning the Importance of Collaboration

January 14, 2020


Today we begin a new series on the Solar Decathlon blog, #SDLivingTheDream, highlighting alumni of both the Build Challenge and Design Challenge and how their time in the competition has shaped their careers and their lives. First up, we talk to Dylan Weber Callahan, who competed in the most recent Build Challenge and has already parlayed that experience into a great design job with HOK.

…………………

Name: Dylan Weber Callahan

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: Solar Decathlon 2017 in Denver, CO

University team: Washington University in St. Louis

Current organization / employer: HOK (New York office)

Current role: Design Professional

More »

First-Ever Solar Decathlon Africa Shines With Passion and Progress

November 15, 2019

By Stacy Hunt

In late September, I found myself in a futuristic eco-village outside of Ben Guerir, Morocco, six time zones away from home. As a juror for the Communications and Social Awareness Contest in the first-ever Solar Decathlon Africa, I had some tough decisions ahead of me.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. I was a juror for Solar Decathlon Europe in Szentendre, Hungary; I’ve attended several U.S. competitions, and I have worked with the U.S. organizing team since 2013.

But as soon as I stepped onto the site, Solar Decathlon Africa felt different. The energy of the students, and their region-, craft-, and culture-specific solutions were somehow more robust than what I’ve seen on the whole in other Solar Decathlons.

More »

Announcing the Solar Decathlon 2020 Design Challenge Teams!

November 13, 2019

Eighty-two teams from 55 collegiate institutions are participating in the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge! These teams are vying to be selected as one of the finalist teams that will present their projects at an expert-juried event April 17–19, 2020, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

More »

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