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Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017

Solar Decathlon Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Blog provides regular updates about Solar Decathlon news and events. Learn what's happening now, and let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

And Now … Winners of the Official Unofficial Solar Decathlon Contests!

October 15, 2017

By Ruby Theresa Nahan

If you read our They Build Through Rain, Sleet, Snow or Hail blog post, you’ll know that weather is officially Solar Decathlon’s unofficial 11th contest. And we pretty much had it all—rain, sleet, snow, wind, and lots and lots of mud. It was the first time Solar Decathlon has ever seen snow, and good news—no hail! For the Weather Contest, we’re happy to report an 11-way tie. All 11 teams completed their houses, opened to the public, and participated in the competition.

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Take A Minute to Take It All In

October 14, 2017

By Alexis Powers

Time flies when you’re having fun. It also warps when you are working hard. Here in the Solar Decathlon village, it’s been an absolute whirlwind of both ever since assembly began three weeks ago.

Today’s Solar Decathlon Minute packs one of the competition’s most exciting days into just 110 seconds. If that feels too fast to you, then check out the other 10 Minutes we’ve posted on our YouTube channel during the 2017 event. You’ll see highlights from each house, updates on each day’s activities, and even a dancing toilet.

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The Swiss Team Wins U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

October 14, 2017

Prestigious Energy Competition Open for Final Weekend

 

DENVER, CO – Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons today announced the winning team of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Swiss Team took first place overall by designing, building, and operating the house that best blended smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency. The University of Maryland took second place followed by the University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver team in third place.

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Vegas Innovates and Northwestern Communicates

October 13, 2017

By Ruby Theresa Nahan

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The whole University of Nevada, Las Vegas team choked up when their 1st place finish for the Innovation Contest was announced. Adam Betemedhin, who accepted the award, indicated “we’re really happy to be here.” Insert happy tears emoji!
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Las Vegas Claims First in the Innovation Contest and Northwestern Wins the Communications Contest at U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

October 13, 2017

Solar Decathlon Open to the Public Today through Sunday, October 15, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

DENVER, CO – Before a crowd of student competitors near the 61st and Peña Station in Denver, Colorado, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas took first place in the Innovation Contest, and Northwestern University won the Communications Contest of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2017. For the Innovation Contest, the collegiate competitors were judged on how well they demonstrated a thoughtful approach to innovation, rather than being limited solely to off-the-shelf solutions, in the design and construction of houses that integrate renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies. The Communications Contest rated each team’s effectiveness in communicating the features of their house and their experiences during this project to jurors and the public through a variety of media including websites, audiovisual presentations, displays and tours.  For the first time in Solar Decathlon history, teams are taking home prize money. First place in the overall competition (to be announced tomorrow) will win $300,000, second place wins $225,000, third place wins $150,000, fourth place wins $125,000, and fifth through eleventh place will win $100,000 each.

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Swiss Sweep Architecture and Water Contests!

October 12, 2017

By Ruby Theresa Nahan

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The Swiss Team cleaned up today as they took first place in both the Architecture and Water Contests with their NeighborHub competition house.
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Swiss Team Wins Architecture and Water Contests at U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

October 12, 2017

Solar Decathlon Open to the Public Today through Sunday, October 15, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

DENVER, CO – Before an enthusiastic crowd near the 61st and Peña Station in Denver, Colorado, the Swiss team took first place with a perfect score of 100 points in the highly competitive Architecture Contest, and also clinched top honors in the Water Contest at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2017. For the Architecture Contest, the students were judged on the design and construction of attractive, high-performance houses that integrate renewable energy systems and energy-saving technologies. In the new Water Contest, teams were evaluated on how well their houses conserve water, enable reclamation and reuse, and integrate low-water landscaping. The 10 contests that make up the Solar Decathlon encourage teams to design and build comfortable, solar-powered, innovative houses that combine highly energy- and water-efficient construction designs, appliances and renewable energy systems.

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Behind the Numbers: Solar Decathlon Scoring Explained

October 11, 2017

By Daniel Rubin and Alexis Powers

At the writing of this post, only two-tenths of a point separate first and second place in Solar Decathlon 2017. We are six days into the competition, and there are three days left.

What’s on the line?

Cash prizes up to $300,000 for the winner. And bragging rights of course (priceless).

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Tomorrow’s Leaders Share STEM Advice with Today’s Middle-Schoolers

October 6, 2017

By Casey Kreiter

Albert Einstein once said, “That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.” This advice to his son, encouraging him to practice piano and carpentry, still holds true 102 years later. I’ve certainly found myself surprised by the clock after teaching an anatomy lesson at Iowa City Regina or during a football practice with my fellow Denver Broncos. I agree with Einstein—passion is the key.

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Opening Day: Seen and Heard

October 5, 2017

“We realized only one of our two panels was producing power, so we had to troubleshoot. We fixed the wiring and were all set.”
— Bill Bach, team leader, Northwestern University

Students from Northwestern University get their solar panels competition-ready for the first day that teams can log points in Solar Decathlon 2017. (Credit: Jack Dempsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)
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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Brouillette Cuts Ribbon, Kicks Off Solar Decathlon 2017

October 5, 2017

Collegiate Teams Showcase Innovative Solar Houses in International Competition

 

Visit our media resources page and download our online media kit and b-roll package to help you cover the event.

DENVER, CO – Eleven teams involving hundreds of collegiate students from the United States and Europe have assembled at the 61st and Peña Station in Denver, Colorado, to showcase their highly energy-efficient, innovation-packed solar houses for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 (see photos here). This signature Energy Department event is making its debut in Denver after successful runs in Washington, D.C., and Orange County, California. Today’s opening ceremony, headlined by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, kicked off the highly anticipated international competition that shows consumers how to save money and energy with affordable energy products that are available today.

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It Takes a Village … to Build a Solar Village

October 3, 2017

By Alexis Powers

Assembly of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 solar village is winding down as teams put the finishing touches on their competition houses. With only a couple days before the event opens to the public and scoring officially begins, now seems like the perfect time to reflect on the organizations that helped make this year’s Solar Decathlon possible.

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Is That the Sun I See!?! Yes!

September 28, 2017

By Ruby Nahan

One week from today, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 officially opens to the public and the teams start earning points! In addition to forecasted sunnier weather, we’re looking forward to seeing all the smiling sunny faces of the people who come to our Opening Ceremony next Thursday, October 5, starting at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to check out our Visit information so you can join us at the 61st and Peña Station on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail, just one stop from Denver International Airport.

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They Build Through Rain, Sleet, Snow or Hail … (But, Hopefully Only Rain)

September 26, 2017

By Ruby Nahan

Despite the overcast skies, rain, and mud, there’s nothing but sunny dispositions at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017!

Teams arrived on site for an all-teams meeting and began assembly of their houses three days ago, on Saturday, September 23 (see our video for highlights). Pretty soon thereafter, it started to rain. Seems we hit an off week in Denver’s rumored 300 days of sun per year. But in the words of our brilliant building code official, Tom Meyers, “Weather. It’s the hidden 11th contest of the Solar Decathlon!”

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Five Questions for a Former Decathlete: Susan Renaud

September 25, 2017

What’s your name and what Solar Decathlon team did you support?
I am Susan (Meissner) Renaud. I worked with the University of Virginia team on the 2002 competition.

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