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Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017

Solar Decathlon Blog - Solar Decathlon

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

12 Solar-Powered Houses You’ll See at Solar Decathlon 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

By Mike Mueller 

Editor’s Note: This entry has been cross-posted from EERE’s Energy blog.

One month from now, a solar-powered village will suddenly appear in Denver, Colorado, showcasing the latest innovation in building science and design. From modular construction to water conservation and re-use strategies, this year’s crop of Solar Decathlon houses has it all when it comes to technology, design and creativity.

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10 Reasons to Visit the Solar Decathlon

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

By Kristin Madding

A free event that will blow your mind is about to land in the Denver area. It’s the Solar Decathlon: a multiday, multiteam, multidisciplinary competition that pits collegiate teams against one another in categories of design, engineering, energy, and more. (Goosebumps!) It’s essentially the national championship of solar home building. But, instead of tossing the ole pigskin, teams from the United States, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are building full-size houses featuring the latest sustainability tech to compete in 10 contests. It’s … kind of a big deal.

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There Are No Glass Ceilings in This Solar Village

Thursday, August 10, 2017

By Olivia Wolford

Engineer, entrepreneur, builder, leader: who are you picturing right now? Actually, these titles are held by several incredible collegiate women who have leadership roles on the Solar Decathlon 2017 teams.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is the world’s premier design-build competition, challenging students to create an energy efficient, solar-powered house that must perform in 10 contests during a nine-day public event. It’s also a real-world platform where women are proving that they are some of the brightest rising stars in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, before they even graduate.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Energy Jobs Inspired by the Solar Decathlon

Monday, July 10, 2017

By Linda Silverman and Olivia Wolford

From planning to construction, it requires many roles to take a house from blueprint to reality. One of the key features of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is the realistic experience it provides to participating students. The Solar Decathlon is a uniquely large-scale university design-build competition, offering theory-to-practice opportunities for student teams and a fascinating learning experience for those visiting this free event in Denver, Colorado. Ten contests evaluate various aspects of energy-efficient, solar-powered houses, which teams have spent nearly two years designing, refining, and building.

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The Many Fates of Former Solar Decathlon Houses

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

By Linda Silverman

Compelling. That’s what the stories behind the Solar Decathlon represent to me. Normally, I am focused on the current competition – working with the university teams and our partners to host the Energy Department’s largest public event showcasing student-built solar houses. But lately, I’ve had the chance to learn more about where the 2013 and 2015 competition houses ended up as part of a major website update. That’s why I’m proud to say our Where are the Houses Now historical archive now covers the fate of all past U.S. Solar Decathlon competition houses from 2002 to 2015.

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Bark Twice if Your Dog Wants to Go Solar

Thursday, May 25, 2017

By Alexis Powers

The Solar Decathlon has inspired many design competitions over the past 15 years, among them the Energy Department’s Collegiate Wind Competition, Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Tiny House Competition, the Alliance for Green Heat’s Wood Stove Design Challenge, and EmPower’s Solar Student Competition. But we’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

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West Virginia University Withdraws From Solar Decathlon 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Photo of the Solar Decathlon 2017 team from West Virginia University; they are a group of about 20 students, men and women, smiling and wearing various designs of blue and gold WVU t-shirts. A skyline featuring a ridge of Appalachian Mountains is in the background.

Today, competition organizers announced that West Virginia University has withdrawn from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017.

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Real World Projects for Hardworking Students

Friday, March 31, 2017

By Joe Simon

The most interesting and challenging questions don’t have a single right answer. Sure, 2 + 2 = 4. Everyone learns that in school. But what is the best design for a livable home powered entirely by the sun that can be transported anywhere in the world and assembled in just a few days? Solar Decathlon competitions worldwide have netted 274 different-yet-correct answers to this question since it was first posed in 2002. (more…)

Get a Sneak Preview of Solar Decathlon 2017 Houses

Monday, February 6, 2017

By Ruby Theresa Nahan

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 is only eight months away, but the competing teams have been hard at work for more than a year. Competition organizers recently reviewed team design development drawings, which reflect about 90% completion of the design details.

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Five Former Decathletes Who Became Entrepreneurs

Friday, January 13, 2017

By Alexis Powers

It’s no surprise that many of the top-notch students who have participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon go on to have successful careers in architecture and engineering. Some become collegiate professors, software engineers, analysts, energy consultants, and much more. We even have a newly elected official among our ranks—Chris Kennedy of the University of Colorado Boulder 2002’s first-place team—who won Colorado’s 23rd District State House race last month.

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Around the World with Solar Decathlon

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

By Linda Silverman

Photo of a house at dusk.

This house was designed and constructed by students from Missouri University of Science and Technology as part of Solar Decathlon 2015 in California. | Photo by Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition now spans five continents – from the United States to Spain, France, Colombia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, to China – bringing together collegiate teams from around the world to address some of the most pressing global energy issues of our time.

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Georgia Institute of Technology Withdraws From Solar Decathlon 2017

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Today, Solar Decathlon organizers announced that Georgia Institute of Technology has withdrawn from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017.

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Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Morocco for Solar Decathlon Africa Competition in 2019

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Today, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz and Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water, and Environment (MEMEE) and Director Badr Ikken of the Research Institute in Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in the development of a Solar Decathlon Africa competition in 2019.

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Solar-Powered Houses Take Starring Role in Denver’s Community of Tomorrow

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

By Linda Silverman

Zero-emission electric vehicles charge along the street. People walk along LED-lighted sidewalks. A commuter train drops travelers off from the airport to enjoy dinner at a corner café. And the houses? They’re entirely powered by sunshine.

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Über Smart Eco-Inventions Designed by Students

Friday, September 23, 2016

By Alexis Powers

Imagine building a single-family house with only hand-powered tools. Sounds crazy, right? Well, students from Clemson University built not just one such house, but two. They built a local version to stay in South Carolina and a traveling version to demonstrate this concept at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 competition. Their Sim[PLY] construction method allows an average person to assemble pre-cut, numbered components with just stainless steel zip ties. It’s like a three-dimensional puzzle of a 1,000-square-foot home…that’s also a totally livable home.

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