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Solar Decathlon Blog - Competition

Below you will find Solar Decathlon news from the Competition archive, sorted by date.

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

Monday, 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…)

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

Tuesday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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.

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

Thursday, 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…)

Achieving Zero Energy While Meeting Unique Homeowner Needs

Thursday, March 4, 2021

A 100% clean energy economy capable of battling climate change will include a strong foundation of zero energy homes—a house that can produce as much energy as it uses. Such homes don’t have to be bare-bones and uncomfortable. Quite the opposite, in fact. Student-led teams competing in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Build Challenge are proving they can blend architectural design and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production, all with the “comforts of home.”

(more…)

Save the Date for the Solar Decathlon Competition Event; Virtual Format Opens Participation to Broader Audience

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Save the Date for the Solar Decathlon Competition Event; Virtual Format Opens Participation to Broader Audience

Mark your calendars! The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® will host its rescheduled 2020 Build Challenge and 2021 Design Challenge competition events virtually, from Thursday, April 15 to Sunday, April 18, 2021. This virtual event will feature dynamic team presentations, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities for all collegiate teams in the United States and around the world.

The Build Challenge competition event was previously scheduled to be on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in summer of 2020. The annual Design Challenge competition event is traditionally hosted by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, Colorado.

“While we will miss celebrating the excitement and passion in person, we want to ensure the teams are still given an opportunity to complete this unparalleled and valuable experience,” said Holly Jamesen Carr, director of Solar Decathlon for the Building Technologies Office. “We have seen how this competition has positively impacted the trajectory of many careers and elevated the importance of building efficiency.”

Read more

Mojave Bloom: A Therapeutic Home for Post-Traumatic Healing

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Architects are really good at a lot of things, but one quality in particular stands out to Eric Weber, an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). He believes that once architects understand the nature of a challenge, they excel at developing thoughtful responses to it. Maybe that is why Weber’s Design + Build students chose to create a home that supports veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for their U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2020 Build Challenge entry, Mojave Bloom.

Team Las Vegas includes four veterans, one service member’s spouse, and Weber himself who is a Desert Storm­ veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Furthermore, Las Vegas is home to many former service members due to its proximity to Nellis Air Force Base and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. The mission of finding solutions for the challenges that returning soldiers face not only hit close to home, but really resonated with the team.

UNLV students collage

The UNLV students on Team Las Vegas developed the Mojave Bloom concept as a
sustainable salute to military veterans.

(more…)

Zach Berzolla is #SDLivingtheDream:
Using a Multidisciplinary Approach for Effective Building Design

Monday, December 14, 2020

For this edition of #SDLivingtheDream we learn about Zach Berzolla, a 2018 Middlebury College team alumnus. He shares with us the work he is doing at MIT, along with key concepts that he has learned for successful building design, from Solar Decathlon. How about that for a doer designer!

…………………  

Name: Zach Berzolla

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2018 Design Challenge

University team: Middlebury College

 Current organization / employer: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sustainable Design Lab

Current role: Research Assistant/ SMBT Student

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

I knew I was interested in zero energy buildings, but the Solar Decathlon cemented for me that I wanted to make this field my career. Furthermore,  as I started working with the multidisciplinary team I assembled for the Race to Zero, I realized the importance of an integrated design process. This was one of the reasons I ended up at the MIT Sustainable Design Lab for my master’s; the lab is multi-disciplinary and focused on tools and analyses that architects, engineers, and policy-makers can all understand.

 Describe a work outcome, building project or other achievement you are most proud of and how (if) it relates to your experience with Solar Decathlon.

At MIT, I have been working with other members of my lab to make urban building energy modeling tools accessible to every city so that they can make physics-backed decisions on how to meet their emissions reduction goals. Through Solar Decathlon trainings and collaborations, I learned the applied building physics that underlie every building upgrade strategy we propose to meet these emissions reduction goals.

Zach at VERMOD Homes, a project that he sought out, which was inspired by his Solar Decathlon work. He documented improvements to the factory process for their zero-energy manufactured homes.

Brett Horin is #SDLivingtheDream:
Seeing the Impacts in the Real World

Monday, November 16, 2020

This month in our #SDLivingtheDream series, you’ll meet Brett Horin, who competed with Illinois Tech in the 2018 Design Challenge and who has gone on to work in energy modeling in the architecture industry, fueled by his experience in the Solar Decathlon.

…………………  

Name: Brett Horin

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2018

University team: Illinois Institute of Technology

Current organization / employer: Lamar Johnson Collaborative/Clayco

Current role: Energy Modeler

(more…)

Mentoring 101: How to Teach College Students What Textbooks Can’t

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Most colleges don’t offer a course that can teach you how to navigate the real world. Sure, classroom learning provides students with a solid technical foundation in their chosen areas of study, but essential professional skills like negotiation, compromise, and flexibility aren’t covered in most textbooks. For the answers to life’s most challenging questions, you need a mentor.

If there were degrees in Real Life Experience, a group of more than 30 students from Weber State University would earn top honors. These students managed to design and build a six-bedroom, 2,450 square foot home that is powered entirely by the sun and can go off grid for three days—or longer—as part of their Solar Decathlon 2020 senior project.

Jeremy Farner, an associate professor of building design and construction at Weber State University, served as the team’s faculty advisor on the project. Now that he has successfully advised two Solar Decathlon Design Challenge competitions and Weber State’s most recent Build Challenge, there is no doubt he has what it takes to mentor the next generation of green building professionals.

Several students from the WSU build team

Jeremy Farner, fourth from right, stands with students on the Solar Decathlon 2020 Build project team representing the Building Design & Construction, Interior Design, and Construction Management programs in February 2020. Photo by Weber State University

(more…)

Sean Copeland is #SDLivingtheDream:
Revolutionizing Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Through Design!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Meet 2017-2018 Design Challenge alumnus Sean Copeland. From Penn State to Solar Decathlon, this two-time SD veteran has always worked with a passion for building design and environmental preservation. With his current position at Arup, he is able to intersect the two through working on carbon-free building construction in Massachusetts. Learn more about how Sean puts his skills to the test toward the green-building industry.

…………………  

Name: Sean Copeland

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2017 and 2018

University team: Penn State University (2017 — Full Circle, 2018 — Ripple)

Current organization / employer: Arup

Current role: Graduate Sustainability Consultant

(more…)

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