Solar Decathlon Contests
Like the Olympic decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 Contests. The Contests evaluate cost-effective design; innovation balanced with market potential; comfort and environmental quality; resilience and operations; and overall presentation.
Each Solar Decathlon Contest is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a potential competition total of 1,000 points.
Teams can earn points three ways:
- Task Completion
Teams complete tasks that simulate modern living, such as cooking, doing laundry, or charging an electric vehicle with energy from the house's solar electric system.
- Monitored Performance
Team houses and appliances perform to specified criteria, such as maintaining indoor temperature and humidity within a tight range, ensuring refrigerators maintain appropriate temperatures, and carefully controlling the flow of electricity between the house and the utility.
- Jury Evaluation
Jurors who are experts in fields, such as architecture, engineering, homebuilding, and communications, award points for features that cannot be measured, such as aesthetics, design inspiration, and innovation.
Contests based on task completion or monitored performance are called Measured Contests; contests based on jury evaluation are call Juried Contests.
Learn more about the 10 Solar Decathlon 2020 Build Challenge Contests:
Embodied Environmental Impact
Comfort & Environmental Quality
This Contest evaluates the building's architecture for creativity in matching form with function, overall integration of systems, and ability to deliver both outstanding aesthetics and functionality.
This Contest evaluates the effective design of high-performance engineering systems, technologies, and techniques that enable energy efficiency adoption and renewable energy production.
This Contest evaluates the building's appeal, affordability, and attainability to the stated target market. This includes addressing specific market needs, such as affordability and financial feasibility, and socioeconomic barriers to increase likelihood of adoption by intended occupants and the construction industry for impactful, cost-effective design.
This Contest evaluates the building's long-term ability to endure local environmental conditions and anticipate, withstand, respond to, and recover from disruptions.
This Contest evaluates cumulative environmental impact of all processes over the course of the building life cycle, including extraction of raw materials, production and manufacturing processes, shipping, construction, operation, and end-of-life.
This Contest evaluates the interdependencies of building design elements to achieve optimized whole building performance. In a truly integrated design, when any element is altered or removed from the building, overall building performance is diminished.
This Contest evaluates how the building design prioritizes occupant experience, productivity, and quality of life.
This Contest evaluates the building's capability to deliver intended comfort and indoor environmental quality.
This Contest evaluates whole-building energy consumption and how it is offset by renewable energy systems.
This Contest evaluates effective communication of design and construction strategies to relevant audiences and communities, including written, verbal, multimedia, and visual presentation materials.
For complete information, see the Solar Decathlon 2023 Rules.