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Congratulations to Virginia Tech and Solar Decathlon Europe

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Virginia Tech took top honors to a standing ovation at the Solar Decathlon Europe awards ceremony today in Madrid, Spain. The decathletes were ecstatic to finally win after participating in four Solar Decathlons. And this was the closest margin of victory in a Solar Decathlon. Virginia Tech won by less than a point!

Rank Team Score
1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University 811.83
2 University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim 810.96
3 Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences 807.49
4 Ecole National Supérieure d’architecture de Grenoble 793.84
5 Aalto University, Finland 777.01
8 University of Florida 743.22

Virginia Tech participated in the 2002, 2005, and 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlons. For the faculty advisors who have nurtured three teams of students over 10 years, this victory is sweet. The professors were overjoyed, and the students were jumping and dancing on stage and hugging and high-fiving one another.

Virginia Tech had practice on its side, having competed in 2009 in the United States on the National Mall. It was one of the first teams to finish assembling its house and get connected to the grid. Then, when the team won the Architecture contest, it shot out front and never looked back. Although the margin of victory was extremely close, the team maintained focus and had a quiet confidence about it. It was a remarkable victory under formidable odds.

Congratulations also go to the Rosenheim and Stuttgart teams. Both have beautiful houses. Rosenheim nipped at Virginia Tech’s heels all week and almost pulled ahead. Stuttgart won the solar system contest on the last day of judging, which catapulted it from fourth to third.

The University of Florida finished eighth. The team was very happy and satisfied with its effort. And it won the online people’s choice award! Way to go, Florida! The Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña won the most paper votes in the village.

The Spanish Ministry of Housing hired a firm that specializes in estimating the size of crowds by taking photos and calculating area and density. The ministry reported that 191,000 people visited the Villa Solar in Madrid, which surpasses the numbers estimated to have visited the National Mall for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009. This is just more evidence that the inaugural Solar Decathlon Europe was a big success.

The Virginia Tech team plans to disassemble its house and be back in the United States by Friday, July 2. Its house, on the other hand, is not expected at the Baltimore harbor until August.

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Throughout the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers are reporting from Madrid.

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