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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.

Solar Decathlon Turns 20!

January 20, 2022

US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon - Building impact for 20 years 2002-2022

2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon®, an international collegiate competition that has helped popularize renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, while training the clean energy workforce of tomorrow.

More »

Off to the Races—Announcing the Solar Decathlon 2022 Design Challenge and 2023 Build Challenge Teams!

November 10, 2021

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Solar Decathlon, and 133 teams from 107 collegiate institutions are off to the races as competition begins for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2022 Design Challenge and 2023 Build Challenge teams in 20 countries and 29 U.S. states.

Over its lifetime, the Solar Decathlon has challenged more than 25,000 students to create high-performance, efficient, and affordable buildings powered by renewables while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities in the buildings industry. The Design and Build Challenges are composed of 10 contests. The Design Challenge is a one- to two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a multiyear design-build competition.

“Now in its 20th year, the Solar Decathlon continues to be at the forefront of building the next generation of student leaders who can address climate change through the built environment,” said Holly Jamesen Carr, Director of Solar Decathlon in the Building Technologies Office. “As these students take on the toughest challenges in the built environment, their bright ideas and creativity will be crucial in the transition to a clean energy economy.”

A map of the world, showing all of the teams competing in the 2022 Design Challenge, and the 2023 Build Challenge

2023 Build Challenge

The number of teams competing in the 2023 Build Challenge has nearly tripled from the 2020 Build Challenge to 32 teams, and 16 of the 37 participating collegiate institutions will send teams to the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge for the first time. Over the next two years, these teams will design and build energy-efficient, fully functional homes in their communities to demonstrate creative solutions for real-world issues in the building industry.

The 37 collegiate institutions participating in the 2023 Build Challenge are:

  • Abdelmalek Essaâdi University (جامعة عبدالمالك السعدي), Tétouan, Morocco
  • Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, Colorado
  • Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
  • Bangkok University (มหาวิทยาลัยกรุงเทพ), Bangkok, Thailand
  • Barber-Scotia College, Concord, North Carolina
  • Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington
  • Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
  • École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne, Saint-Étienne, France
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India
  • Kocaeli Üniversitesi, Kocaeli, Turkey
  • Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
  • Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Navajo Technical University, Crownpoint, New Mexico
  • NewSchool of Architecture & Design, San Diego, California
  • Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • San José State University, San José, California
  • Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania
  • The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
  • Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Université Moulay Ismaïl (جامعة مولاي إسماعيل‎), Meknès, Morocco
  • University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
  • Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Woodbury University, Burbank, California

Build Challenge teams will present their designs at the Solar Decathlon Competition Event, April 24–26, 2022, for approval to move forward to the construction phase. Teams will complete construction by early 2023, exhibiting homes locally in their communities, and winning teams will be chosen in April 2023.

A rendering of a home in the desert.

The 2021 Build Challenge team from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas earned third place for their entry “Mojave Bloom,” a design that created a healing space for military veterans. Photo by NREL

2022 Design Challenge

101 teams from 80 collegiate institutions have joined the 2022 Design Challenge. Cross-disciplinary teams will bring their residential or commercial building designs to the Semifinal Competition next February, followed by finalist project presentations at an expert-juried event held April 24–26, 2022.

The 80 collegiate institutions competing in the 2022 Design Challenge are:

  • Alexandria University (جامعة الإسكندرية), Alexandria, Egypt
  • Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
  • Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois
  • Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, California
  • College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Escuela Especializada en Ingeniería ITCA-FEPADE, Santa Tecla, El Salvador
  • Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
  • Jackson State University , Jackson, Mississippi
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
  • Kern Community College District, Bakersfield, California
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri
  • Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Myongji University (명지대학교), Seoul, South Korea
  • Navajo Technical University, Crownpoint, New Mexico
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, New York
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont
  • Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy
  • Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas
  • Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
  • Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
  • Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California
  • School of Planning and Architecture Delhi, New Delhi, India
  • Shiraz University (انشگاه شیراز), Shiraz, Iran
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
  • Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • Tehran University of Art (دانشگاه هنر تهران‎) , Tehran, Iran
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York City, New York
  • The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania
  • The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York
  • The University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona
  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas
  • The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
  • The University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
  • Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Université de Carthage (جامعة قرطاج), Tunis, Tunisia
  • Université de Monastir (جامعة المنستير), Monastir, Tunisia
  • Université Mohammed V de Rabat (جامعة محمد الخامس), Rabat, Morocco
  • University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
  • University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
  • University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
  • University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
  • University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Australia
  • University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, Vermont
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

Team enginuity group photo

Grand Winners of the 2021 Design Challenge in the Residential Division from Northwestern University. Photo by NREL

About EERE

The mission of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.

 

 

Andrea Lin is #SDLivingTheDream: Learning the Collaborative Nature of Sustainable Design

October 25, 2021

Name: Andrea Lin

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2021

University team: Northwestern University

Current organization / employer: Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Current role: Architectural Intern

How did participation in the Solar Decathlon affect the trajectory of your career?

My experience in Solar Decathlon brought me the confidence in changing my career path towards one that interests me. In my third year of university, I was exploring architecture classes and began learning about the design process and high-performance buildings. However, most of the work for these classes was done as individuals so the scope of work was focused mostly on the architectural function and aesthetic. Solar Decathlon exposed me to the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of sustainable design, which has helped me adapt my experiences to my interests.

More »

Time is running out! Apply to Participate in Solar Decathlon by October 26

October 21, 2021

SD logo

Compete in the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® and join more than 25,000 students from 35 countries who have experienced the impact of this unique, life-changing competition!

New and returning collegiate institutions are encouraged to register and participate in this competition that prepares the next generation of building professionals to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables.

More »

3 Weeks to Apply to Participate in Solar Decathlon by October 26

October 5, 2021

SD logo

Compete in the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® and join more than 25,000 students from 35 countries who have experienced the impact of this unique, life-changing competition!

New and returning collegiate institutions are encouraged to register and participate in this competition that prepares the next generation of building professionals to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables.

More »

Join Ready, Set, Solar Decathlon Event on September 16; Apply to Participate in Solar Decathlon by October 26

September 14, 2021

Solar Decathlon logo

Compete in the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® and join more than 25,000 students from 35 countries who have experienced the impact of this unique, life-changing competition!

New and returning collegiate institutions are encouraged to register and participate in this competition that prepares the next generation of building professionals to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables.

More »

Nupoor Kansara is #SDLivingtheDream:
Fueling a passion for sustainable design

August 16, 2021

Name: Nupoor Kansara

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2020

University team: Illinois Institute of Technology

Current organization / employer: Baumann Consulting

Current role: Energy and commissioning engineer More »

Rally Your Classmates and Apply to Compete in Solar Decathlon; October Deadline for Design and Build Challenges

July 16, 2021

Passionate about sustainable buildings? Ready to test the skills you’ve learned in the classroom on a real-life project? The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is ready for your innovative ideas and creativity! Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that prepares the next generation of building professionals to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables.

The Solar Decathlon Competition Guide, 2022 Design Challenge Rules, and 2023 Build Challenge Rules are now available to the public. All collegiate institutions are encouraged to apply to participate in the next edition of Solar Decathlon by October 26, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Team Applications can be submitted for both the Design Challenge and the Build Challenge.

Read more

Louisy Spak is #SDLivingtheDream:
Putting her Design Challenge experience to use in Brazil

June 1, 2021

She learned a lot in the 2017 Design Challenge, and now she helps design condos in Brazil. Hear more about Louisy Spak’s experience in our continuing series.

…………………  

Name: Louisy Spak

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2017 Design Challenge (formerly Race to Zero)

University team: Sobrado Solar – Universidade Federal do Paraná

Current organization / employer: Multipla Arquitetura, Nova Arquitetura

Current role: Architect, owner and BIM specialist

More »

SECRETARY GRANHOLM ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF SOLAR DECATHLON DESIGN AND BUILD CHALLENGES

April 19, 2021

Competitors Represent the Next Generation of Energy-Savvy Architects and Engineers Who Will Build Our Clean Energy Future

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm yesterday joined college students from around the world to announce the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon—a collegiate competition that challenges the next generation of building professionals to design and construct high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy. The 72 competing teams representing 12 countries designed resilient and energy-efficient, homes, schools, offices, and retail spaces; nine of which were constructed and presented in the first-ever Solar Decathlon Virtual Village on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Watch Sunday’s awards ceremony and Secretary Granholm’s remarks HERE.

“Our fight against the climate crisis is a lot like a decathlon, with all kinds of individual contests we need to get through—and we can’t win unless we do well in them all,” said Secretary Granholm. “Today’s decathletes are tomorrow’s architects and engineers who are going to help us achieve President Biden’s ambitious and achievable clean energy goals and build our net-zero future. I can’t wait to see their big ideas come to life in neighborhoods across the country and around the world.”

According to DOE analysis, today buildings account for approximately 74% of electricity use, 39% of total energy use, and 35% of carbon emissions in the United States. There are more than 125 million buildings in the nation that need to be retrofitted in order to achieve the Administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050—which President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposes to address. The Solar Decathlon supports a key strategy to bring that vision to life, by building a pipeline of energy-savvy workers who are prepared for millions of future jobs in design, construction, retrofitting, weatherization, and more.

The full list of the winners of the 2020 Build Challenge and 2021 Design Challenge is below:

2020 Build Challenge Overall Winners

  • 1st Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 2nd Place, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • 3rd Place, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)

2021 Design Challenge Grand Winners

  • Commercial Divisions, University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon)
  • Residential Divisions, Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)

2020 Build Challenge Contest Winners

Energy Performance

  • 1st Place, Weber State University (Ogden, Utah)
  • 2nd Place (tie)
    • University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
    • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • 3rd Place, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana (Champaign County, Illinois)

Engineering

  • 1st Place, Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • 2nd Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 3rd Place, Weber State University (Ogden, Utah)

Financial Feasibility & Affordability

  • 1st Place, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • 2nd Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 3rd Place, Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)

Resilience

  • 1st Place, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Valparaíso, Chile)
  • 2nd Place, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • 3rd Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)

Architecture

  • 1st Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 2nd Place, Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • 3rd Place, Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)

Operations

  • 1st Place, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • 2nd Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 3rd Place, Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)

Market Potential

  • 1st Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 2nd Place, Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)
  • 3rd Place, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)

Comfort & Environmental Quality

  • 1st Place, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana (Champaign County, Illinois)
  • 2nd Place, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
  • 3rd Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)

Innovation

  • 1st Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)
  • 2nd Place, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • 3rd Place (tie)
    • University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario)
    • Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Valparaíso, Chile)

Presentation

  • 1st Place, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • 2nd Place, Weber State University (Ogden, Utah)
  • 3rd Place, University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado)

2021 Design Challenge Division Winners

Suburban Single-Family Housing Division

  • 1st place, Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan)
  • 2nd place, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Missouri)
  • 3rd place, Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina)

Urban Single-Family Housing Division

  • 1st place, Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
  • 2nd place, The University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)
  • 3rd place, Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana)

Attached Housing Division

  • 1st place, Marywood University (Scranton, Pennsylvania)
  • 2nd place, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (Mumbai, India)
  • 3rd place, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)

Mixed-Use Multifamily Building Division

  • 1st place, The University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)
  • 2nd place, The University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)
  • 3rd place, University of Missouri-Columbia (Columbia, Missouri)

Elementary School Division

  • 1st place, University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon)
  • 2nd place, Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada)
  • 3rd place, Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana)

Office Building Division

  • 1st place, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia)
  • 2nd place, Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada)
  • 3rd place, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Retail Building Division

  • 1st place, Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, Illinois)
  • 2nd place, Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • 3rd place, Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology (India)

About the Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that 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. Since 2002, more than 20,000 students have participated in the Solar Decathlon, many of whom have gone on to become architects, engineers, and researchers. This year’s competition marks the 19th anniversary of the Solar Decathlon.

The Design Challenge is a one- to two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a two-year design-build competition.

Applications for the Solar Decathlon 2022 Design Challenge and 2023 Build Challenge will open this summer. Additional details are available on the Solar Decathlon website.

Join Secretary Granholm in Announcing Solar Decathlon Winners for 2020 Build Challenge and 2021 Design Challenge

April 16, 2021

jennifer m. granholm

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm will announce the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2020 Build Challenge and 2021 Design Challenge during the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

Join Secretary Granholm and the 66 collegiate institutions from around the world, representing 72 teams and 12 countries. The ceremony will be live streamed at 1:00 p.m. ET.

JOIN THE LIVE STREAM HERE

About the Solar Decathlon
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that prepares the next generation of building professionals to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables. The Design Challenge is a one- to two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a two-year design-build competition.

Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has challenged more than 20,000 students to create efficient, affordable buildings powered by renewables, while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities in the buildings industry.

Buildings account for 74% of electricity use, 39% of total energy use, and 35% of carbon emissions in the United States. Solar Decathlon supports a key strategy for tackling climate challenges—developing a workforce well equipped to design and construct a low-carbon building stock and to deliver an equitable clean energy future.

Applications for the Solar Decathlon 2022 Design Challenge and 2023 Build Challenge will open this summer. Additional details are available on the Solar Decathlon website.

Department of Energy Kicks Off Solar Decathlon Competition Event and Announces Richard King Award Winners

April 15, 2021

Today, Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman officially kicked off the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Competition Event during the Solar Decathlon Opening Celebration.

Students from 72 teams, representing 66 collegiate institutions and 12 countries, are competing for top prizes in the 2020 Build Challenge and 2021 Design Challenge during the Competition Event.

“I was deeply inspired by the ingenuity and perseverance of our Solar Decathlon teams, who have designed and constructed buildings that embody the spirit of innovation we need for a clean energy future,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Speakes-Backman. “These homes are a testament to the incredible skill and resolve of the next generation of building professionals, who share a sense of urgency in tackling the climate crisis and building more sustainable communities.” More »

Visit Solar Decathlon’s First Virtual Village to Tour One-of-a-Kind, High-Performance Homes Online!

March 29, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy is excited to announce the opening of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Virtual Village – now live and open to the public!

The Virtual Village will showcase zero energy homes designed and constructed around the world by Solar Decathlon 2020 Build Challenge teams. Industry partners, schools, future collegiate teams, and the interested public are invited to participate in no-cost, virtual tours of the homes, hosted by participating teams.

Visitors can experience these one-of-a-kind homes in this first-ever Solar Decathlon Virtual Village “located” on the National Mall, where the first Solar Decathlon event was launched in 2002.

Visitors can also participate in a Solar Decathlon home scavenger hunt, and a toolkit will be available to help teachers bring students to the Virtual Village for unique educational activities.

Live virtual home tours with student teams will occur at the following times:

The 2020 Build Challenge Competition Event and public exhibition were previously scheduled to take place on the National Mall in the summer of 2020, with each team’s house included in the constructed village for public tours. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020 event was postponed and transitioned to a local build event, with teams constructing their homes in their local communities where they will remain after the competition. Moving forward, Solar Decathlon Build Challenge teams will follow this local build model, with the next competition scheduled for 2023.

About the Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that prepares the next generation of building professionals to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables. The Design Challenge is a one- to two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a two-year design-build competition.

Funded by the Building Technologies Office, Solar Decathlon continues to advance the design of high-performance, energy efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities in the buildings industry. Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has challenged more than 20,000 students to push the envelope in creating innovative, affordable, and highly energy efficient buildings.

Buildings account for 74% of electricity use, 39% of total energy use, and 35% of carbon emissions in the United States. Solar Decathlon supports a key strategy for tackling climate challenges—developing a workforce well equipped to design and construct a low-carbon building stock and to deliver an equitable clean energy future.

Additional details are available on the Solar Decathlon website.

Sixty-Three Finalist Teams Vying to Be One of Two Grand Winners of Solar Decathlon 2021 Design Challenge

March 22, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® announced the 63 Finalist Teams of the 2021 Design Challenge. These teams submitted detailed Design Proposals and were selected from the initial 103 Participating Teams, representing 75 collegiate institutions.

The Finalist Teams, representing 57 collegiate institutions, are competing in one of seven Divisions: Suburban Single-Family Housing, Urban Single-Family Housing, Attached Housing, Mixed-Use Multifamily Building, Elementary School, Office Building, and Retail Building.

More »

Inspiring Tomorrow’s Buildings Leaders: Solar Decathlon Launches 2022 and 2023 Editions

March 17, 2021

Mark your calendars for the next editions of Solar Decathlon! Today, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® announced the launch of the 2022 Design Challenge and 2023 Build Challenge.

The 2022 Design Challenge is an annual design competition which encourages teams to develop zero energy residential and commercial designs while working with design partners to address real-world needs. Student teams will present their projects to jurors in Spring 2022 at a competition hosted by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

The 2023 Build Challenge is a two-year design-build competition in which collegiate teams construct zero energy homes in their own communities. After presenting their preliminary designs and progress, finalist teams will be selected at the 2022 spring event. Finalists will then go back to their communities to build their homes, undertake required measurements, and ultimately compete in a juried event in 2023.

More »

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