Skip to main content
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Google+
Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017

Solar Decathlon Blog - Stevens

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

Stevens Wins Solar Decathlon 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

By Carol Laurie

Stevens Institute of Technology won top honors overall at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar powered house.

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, took second place followed by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in third place.

Stevens’ win comes as no surprise to followers of the competition, as the team took first place in four of five juried contests and maintained the lead position in the competition over the last several days. Stevens Institute of Technology previously competed in Solar Decathlon 2011 and Solar Decathlon 2013.

Stevens Institute of Technology team members celebrate their overall 1st place victory at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015, October 17, 2015 at the Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Stevens Institute of Technology team members celebrate their overall first-place victory at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

At today’s awards ceremony, Energy Department Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dr. David Danielson congratulated all decathletes on their accomplishments during the 2015 competition.

“On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, thank you to each inspiring student competitor,” said Danielson. “Your hard work makes this unique competition possible. The homes you built demonstrate how affordable, renewable, and energy-saving products available today can cut energy bills, reduce pollution, and protect our climate. You have shown the skills and dedication necessary to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency throughout our economy in the decades to come.”

Announcement of the overall winners followed exciting results of the Engineering Contest, in which Stevens took first place with a score of 93 of 100 possible points. Close behind with 92 points for second place was the hometown favorite Team Orange County (University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College). Texas/Germany (The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen) took third place with 91 points.

Full details about these results, scores, and standings are available here.

Come check out the winning houses for yourself! Tomorrow is the final day of public exhibit here at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The Solar Decathlon village is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Sunday.

Carol Laurie is the communications manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Stevens Leads After Taking First in Three of Four Juried Contests

Friday, October 16, 2015

By Carol Laurie

At the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015, Stevens Institute of Technology holds the lead after placing first in Market Appeal, Architecture, and Communications.

Stevens’ SURE HOUSE, a sustainable and resilient house for shore residents vulnerable to extreme weather conditions that could cause flooding and blackouts, earned 96 points to win the Architecture Contest.

“The Stevens design stacks up very favorably against many homes designed by seasoned architectural teams, and in fact outstrips the vast majority of U.S. houses when it comes to energy performance,” said Architecture Contest juror Ann Edminster, a leading international expert on green homes and chair of the Green Building Task Force for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America. “The love of community that drove this design inspired a highly effective collaboration, in turn giving rise to an exceptionally well-integrated final product that will benefit both the occupants and their larger community.”

Photo of a group of people cheering.

Stevens Institute of Technology celebrates after winning the Communications Contest at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The Solar Decathlon involves 10 contests – each worth 100 points – for a possible competition total of 1,000 points.

Other juried contest results announced over the last two days include:

Affordability – The University of California, Davis, and Mass/Central America (Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana) tied for first place and earned the full 100 points by constructing houses estimated to cost $249,312 and $120,282, respectively. Texas/Germany (The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen) earned second place with 98.16 points for their house estimated to cost $268,399. Third place went to the State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University with 98.14 points for its house estimated to cost $268,637.

Market Appeal – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, took second place with 93 points for its house designed for coastal California, and Clemson University took third place with 96 points for its Indigo Pine house, which assembles like a jigsaw puzzle without the use of power tools.

Architecture – Clemson University claimed second place with 95 points, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, took third place with 94 points.

Communications – Clemson University finished second with 90 points, followed by the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York, in third place with 89 points.

Full details about these results, scores, and standings are available here.

Tomorrow is the big day! Results from the Engineering Contest and the overall winner of the Solar Decathlon will be announced at 9:45 a.m. PDT by Energy Department Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dr. David Danielson.

Carol Laurie is the communications manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Energy Secretary Opens Solar Decathlon Village

Thursday, October 8, 2015

By Carol Laurie

To the cheers of hundreds of student decathletes, Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz brandished a pair of giant scissors and cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 village. The competition and public exhibit have begun!

Photo of a large group of people standing behind a ribbon falling away from a pair of giant scissors.

Dr. Ernest Moniz, secretary, U.S. Department of Energy (center) cuts the ribbon to officially open the Solar Decathlon 2015 village. Joining him are (left to right) Gaddi Vasquez, senior VP of Edison International; Serge Goldenberg, senior VP of Schneider International; Richard King, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon; Christine Shea, council member for Irvine, California; Mary Wenzel, senior VP for Wells Fargo; Beth Krom, council member for Irvine, California; and Lynn Schott, council member for Irvine, California. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Opening day began with a photo of Solar Decathlon 2015 student team members, followed by the opening ceremony, which took place in historic Hangar 244 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Moniz’s keynote speech provided inspiration to the teams.

Aerial photo of a large group of people.

Teams cheer in front of the Solar Decathlon village during an all-team photo on opening day of the 2015 competition at the Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Speakers included Solar Decathlon Director Richard King, representatives from top-level sponsors Edison International, Schneider Electric, and Wells Fargo; and the City of Irvine City Council. The fun began when Moniz and King introduced the teams, whose excitement spread throughout the room.

Photo of a group of people stacking their hands on top of each other.

Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz is surrounded by team members from the University of California, Davis, during the Solar Decathlon 2015 opening ceremony. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“These teams have been working hard for two years and they’re ecstatic to finally reach this moment,” says King. “To top it off, the Secretary of Energy told the students how important their work is designing, building, and operating these solar houses and how they’re going to be the next generation of energy leaders.”

With the Solar Decathlon village now open to visitors, Moniz toured houses of several teams: California State University, Sacramento; Missouri University of Science and Technology; Stevens Institute of Technology; and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Not only is the village open, but today also marks the first day of the competition. Follow along, check out the team scores over the next eight days, and see who wins on October 18!

Carol Laurie is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

 

Stevens Pioneers a Post-Hurricane Sandy World With SURE HOUSE

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

By Ernie Tucker

When Hurricane Sandy crashed into the East Coast in October 2012, it caused an estimated $65 billion in damages along with untold human misery. But something positive has come from that disaster. The superstorm inspired the Stevens Institute of Technology’s U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 project.

“Sandy devastated a lot of the coast, including Hoboken, New Jersey, where Stevens is located. And many of the students involved on the team are from New York and New Jersey and were affected, or had families affected, by power outages and damage from the storm,” says decathlete A.J. Elliott, a Stevens graduate student.

“We knew at that point that we wanted to address not only sustainability but also resiliency with our design—to combat rising sea levels and increased storm activity,” he says.

Computer-generated illustration of a solar-powered house.

Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, SURE HOUSE takes a new direction in storm-resilient coastal housing by combining the architectural feel that characterizes the Jersey Shore with 21st-century technology and fiber-composite materials repurposed from the boat-building industry. (Courtesy of the Solar Decathlon 2015 Stevens Institute of Technology team)

The 40-member team came up with a play on words for its Jersey Shore house: SURE HOUSE. The name derives from “SUstainability” plus “REsiliency” and is intended to reflect a structure that can mitigate climate change as well as survive the real effects of global warming such as savage storms.

But the team didn’t want to follow the typical post-Sandy trends.

“The general reaction to Hurricane Sandy was to put houses up on stilts. That’s still the practice, so these homes don’t have porches—and feel out of place,” Elliott says.

Photo of a group of students.

Members of the Stevens Institute of Technology team gather at the Orange County Great Park on Jan. 9. (Credit: Carol Laurie/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

This is especially noticeable because the Jersey Shore comprises tight-knit communities with towns that typically have open spaces for people to gather. Stilts stifle that characteristic.

By pioneering a different way, “we’re trying to develop a prototype where we don’t necessarily have to do that,” he says. “We wanted to maintain this ’70s and ’80s architectural feel that is the Jersey Shore in combination with 21st-century technology.”

The 1,000-ft2 living space flows to an exterior deck. Although replicating the cottage style on the exterior, the core building principles result in 90% less energy use through “Passive House” techniques (a German concept stressing tight building envelopes to reduce air conditioning demands), net zero-energy use with solar power, and a resilient energy hub.

Photo of two people taking measurements with surveying equipment on a tripod.

At the Orange County Great Park, Stevens Institute of Technology team members survey the lot where they will build SURE HOUSE for Solar Decathlon 2015. (Credit: Cliff Wallace/Orange County Great Park Corp.)

That hub is key.

“Solar arrays won’t work when power is out unless you have a battery backup system,” Elliott says—but those backups aren’t allowed in the Solar Decathlon.

Instead, Stevens is equipping SURE HOUSE with a special, commercially available inverter that can continue to produce power even after a blackout. The house will also have an outdoor USB charging outlet that allows neighbors to come by and charge their portable devices.

“That way, they’re not without communication shortly after a storm, when there are a lot of emergencies to be dealt with,” he notes.

And as a final addition, the Stevens team is drawing from the marine industry for its technologies and materials, using composites that can repel storm damage as well as everyday salt water.

Solving a local problem appeals to Elliott because even though he was in Philadelphia when the hurricane hit—working for a utility dealing with some of the storm aftermath—he grew up in New York City.

Being in his first Solar Decathlon is also a dream come true. He began tracking the event in high school and visited his first competition in 2007—and he’s been to every one since.

“This is my first go-round, but Stevens’ third,” he says.

It was the school’s participation in 2013 that drew him to enroll in its Product Architecture and Engineering program, which is deeply involved in the Solar Decathlon.

The team hopes that after this year’s Solar Decathlon, SURE HOUSE will find a permanent home on the Jersey Shore—where it can serve as a model for others who want to sustain traditions in the face of changes that threaten to erode not only beaches but also the fabric of community life.

Ernie Tucker is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon communications team.

European Teams Top Architecture and Communications Contests

Friday, October 11, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

Czech Technical University took first place in the highly competitive Architecture Contest and Vienna University of Technology received top honors in the Communications Contest this morning at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013.

A jury of professional architects determined the Architecture Contest winners by assessing each house’s architectural elements, environmental compatibility and occupant comfort, design inspiration, and construction specifications.

Photo of the interior of AIR House.

The interior of Czech Technical University’s AIR House, which won first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Architecture contest, incorporates warm and natural wood finishes to create a comfortable place to dwell and reenergize. (Credit: Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“The first-place winner, AIR House from Czech Technical University, provides a multitude of wonderful architectural experiences despite its simple and uncomplicated design,” said Architecture Contest juror Richard N. Swett of Climate PROSPERITY Enterprise Solutions LLC. “Using light and materials, this house creates a warm and inviting cocoon where indoor and outdoor living are intertwined with the elements of sun and nature.”

Stevens Institute of Technology won second place in the Architecture Contest for its house, Ecohabit. Third place went to the University of Southern California for fluxHome.

For the Communications Contest, a jury of communications professionals evaluated each team’s website, public exhibit materials, public tours, and audiovisual presentation for clear and consistent messages, representative images, and creative audience engagement.

Photo of Sandra Violand distributing handouts to visitors in line at the LISI house.

Sandra Violand, architecture student at Vienna University of Technology, which won first place in the Communications Contest, offers the team’s handout to visitors at the entrance of the LISI house. Voiland also wears the handout, which not only offers information about the team’s Solar Decathlon entry but can also be folded into a wearable crown. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“As a second-time juror, I was blown away by the amount of work and creativity the 2013 entries showed in their communications efforts,” said Communications Contest juror Mark Walhimer of Museum Planning LLC.  “The top teams represented a very high level of sophistication in their brand building.”

Second place in the Communications Contest went to University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Middlebury College took third place.

Walhimer said that the most successful teams in the Communications Contest were able to portray a lifestyle brand rather than merely conveying the technical features of their houses.

Engineering Contest results and the overall winner of Solar Decathlon 2013 will be announced tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 12.

Archives

Categories

Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS)