The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Blog provides regular updates about Solar Decathlon news and events.
Swiss Team Wins Architecture and Water Contests at U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
October 12, 2017
Solar Decathlon Open to the Public Today through Sunday, October 15, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
DENVER, CO – Before an enthusiastic crowd near the 61st and Peña Station in Denver, Colorado, the Swiss team took first place with a perfect score of 100 points in the highly competitive Architecture Contest, and also clinched top honors in the Water Contest at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2017. For the Architecture Contest, the students were judged on the design and construction of attractive, high-performance houses that integrate renewable energy systems and energy-saving technologies. In the new Water Contest, teams were evaluated on how well their houses conserve water, enable reclamation and reuse, and integrate low-water landscaping. The 10 contests that make up the Solar Decathlon encourage teams to design and build comfortable, solar-powered, innovative houses that combine highly energy- and water-efficient construction designs, appliances and renewable energy systems.
Behind the Numbers: Solar Decathlon Scoring Explained
October 11, 2017
By Daniel Rubin and Alexis Powers
At the writing of this post, only two-tenths of a point separate first and second place in Solar Decathlon 2017. We are six days into the competition, and there are three days left.
What’s on the line?
Cash prizes up to $300,000 for the winner. And bragging rights of course (priceless).
Tomorrow’s Leaders Share STEM Advice with Today’s Middle-Schoolers
October 6, 2017
By Casey Kreiter
Albert Einstein once said, “That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.” This advice to his son, encouraging him to practice piano and carpentry, still holds true 102 years later. I’ve certainly found myself surprised by the clock after teaching an anatomy lesson at Iowa City Regina or during a football practice with my fellow Denver Broncos. I agree with Einstein—passion is the key.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Brouillette Cuts Ribbon, Kicks Off Solar Decathlon 2017
October 5, 2017
Collegiate Teams Showcase Innovative Solar Houses in International Competition
Visit our media resources page and download our online media kit and b-roll package to help you cover the event.
DENVER, CO – Eleven teams involving hundreds of collegiate students from the United States and Europe have assembled at the 61st and Peña Station in Denver, Colorado, to showcase their highly energy-efficient, innovation-packed solar houses for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 (see photos here). This signature Energy Department event is making its debut in Denver after successful runs in Washington, D.C., and Orange County, California. Today’s opening ceremony, headlined by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, kicked off the highly anticipated international competition that shows consumers how to save money and energy with affordable energy products that are available today.
It Takes a Village … to Build a Solar Village
October 3, 2017
By Alexis Powers
Assembly of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 solar village is winding down as teams put the finishing touches on their competition houses. With only a couple days before the event opens to the public and scoring officially begins, now seems like the perfect time to reflect on the organizations that helped make this year’s Solar Decathlon possible.
Is That the Sun I See!?! Yes!
September 28, 2017
By Ruby Nahan
One week from today, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 officially opens to the public and the teams start earning points! In addition to forecasted sunnier weather, we’re looking forward to seeing all the smiling sunny faces of the people who come to our Opening Ceremony next Thursday, October 5, starting at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to check out our Visit information so you can join us at the 61st and Peña Station on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail, just one stop from Denver International Airport.
They Build Through Rain, Sleet, Snow or Hail … (But, Hopefully Only Rain)
September 26, 2017
By Ruby Nahan
Despite the overcast skies, rain, and mud, there’s nothing but sunny dispositions at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017!
Teams arrived on site for an all-teams meeting and began assembly of their houses three days ago, on Saturday, September 23 (see our video for highlights). Pretty soon thereafter, it started to rain. Seems we hit an off week in Denver’s rumored 300 days of sun per year. But in the words of our brilliant building code official, Tom Meyers, “Weather. It’s the hidden 11th contest of the Solar Decathlon!”
Five Questions for a Former Decathlete: Susan Renaud
September 25, 2017
What’s your name and what Solar Decathlon team did you support?
I am Susan (Meissner) Renaud. I worked with the University of Virginia team on the 2002 competition.
12 Solar-Powered Houses You’ll See at Solar Decathlon 2017
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.
10 Reasons to Visit the Solar Decathlon
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.
There Are No Glass Ceilings in This Solar Village
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.
INFOGRAPHIC: Energy Jobs Inspired by the Solar Decathlon
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.
The Many Fates of Former Solar Decathlon Houses
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.
Bark Twice if Your Dog Wants to Go Solar
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.