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A photo of a team working together to raise a wall of a house

Build Challenge

Teams competing in the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge work during a two-year period to design, build, and operate their houses in their own region, with student work culminating in April at the Solar Decathlon Competition Event at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Participants design and build complete, functional houses in their communities to demonstrate creative solutions for real-world issues in the building industry. Teams will compete to earn points by operating their house successfully, and by showcasing the excellence of their solutions to industry expert jurors.

Through local exhibitions, teams are able to explain the importance of their innovations and solutions to a broad public audience. The competition and winners are promoted through a variety of media outreach efforts, which provide participants and their collegiate institutions an opportunity for national exposure.

Collegiate institutions that participate in the challenge are recognized as leaders in cultivating career-ready, young professionals with cutting-edge skills. Industry partners who collaborate with teams gain national and local recognition and have the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable future design and construction professionals.

Summary of Important Dates

DOE will be engaging stakeholders to solicit feedback on an updated competition model for the Build Challenge. DOE is examining options that would align the structure and impact of the program to further support BTO's decarbonization goals, building on the 20 years of demonstrated success of the Solar Decathlon. Because of the time needed to provide ample opportunity for stakeholder engagement and feedback, DOE will not hold a 2025 SD Build Challenge competition.

If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact Jaime Van Mourik at