Skip navigation to main content. U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun
Photo of a student putting towels into a washing machine.

A University of Maryland 2002 team member washed 12 large towels provided by competition officials for the Hot Water Contest.

Solar Decathlon 2002

Hot Water

(100 points)

Water heating typically accounts for 14% of a household's utility bill. To save money and reduce fossil fuel consumption, the 2002 Solar Decathletes had to demonstrate that a solar water heating system could supply enough hot water for showering, doing laundry, and dishwashing in their homes.

Measurement-Based Criteria

To test the houses' hot water systems, teams had to deliver enough hot water at the right temperature, in the right amount of time, using as little electrical energy as possible; teams had to perform:

  • Daily shower tests
  • Two laundry tests
  • Daily dishwashing tests

Judging Criteria

The hot water systems were also subjectively evaluated for:

  • Ease of use
  • Integration of the system into the house's overall design

And the Winner Was...

The University of Maryland won this contest with a total score of 95 points out of 100 possible points. The judges appreciated the energy savings that resulted from the team's photovoltaic-powered pump on their solar hot water system.

You can learn more about the University of Maryland's home and team.