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

Wednesday, 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.

Team Registration for both Solar Decathlon Challenges will open in July of 2021.

Introduced in the 2021 Design Challenge, the Embodied Environmental Impact Contest will be fully incorporated into both upcoming Solar Decathlon Challenges. This Contest—one of 10 that make up the Solar Decathlon—evaluates the complete life cycle carbon and other environmental impacts of a building, including materials, manufacturing, construction, operation, and reuse or demolition.

The most successful teams in the Build Challenge and the Design Challenge blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, energy efficiency, smart energy production, occupant experience, and market considerations.

About the Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. 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 push the envelope on the design of high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings 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 element of our nation’s strategy for tackling climate challenges while creating jobs to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure and to deliver an equitable clean energy future.

Additional details are available on the Solar Decathlon website.

Build Challenge trophy

Students gain a once-in-a-lifetime experience by competing in the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge and Build Challenge. Photo by Vern Slocum/NREL.

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