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Photo of heads and arms of about ten team members waving and jumping in front of a first place banner. hoto of three team members hugging.

Maryland's team revels in second place

Photo of ten team members hugging beneath a third place banner.

Santa Clara's team shares a big group hug.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Daily Journal - October 19, 2007

Darmstadt Wins Solar Decathlon!

This is, indeed, the big day! The seventh and final day of competition, is possibly the most exciting of many we've already experienced here. At a crowded Awards Ceremony this afternoon, the Technische Universität Darmstadt (Technical University of Darmstadt) was proclaimed the overall winner of the 2007 Solar Decathlon! They were followed closely in the scoring by the second place team, the University of Maryland. The top positions were rounded out with Santa Clara University taking third place.

In announcing the award-winning teams, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman noted that Darmstadt is a team that came "to make a difference," and that their house was one that "architects love and the public has been lining up to see all week." For Maryland, he reminded us that "We joked at the beginning that this team has home-field advantage," but then continued on to say that "they proved that they didn't need it. This house definitely belonged at the highest levels of the competition."

When awarding Santa Clara its third place award, Secretary Bodman remarked that, "This team's house almost didn't make it to the competition. They are a true Cinderella team." Santa Clara's transport from California to the event had an axle break in Nebraska, and the team lost two days of construction time. While these three teams received the top trophies, Assistant Secretary of Energy Alexander Karsner voiced the feelings of many here when he said in his introductory remarks, "All of the teams are winners and they have made all of us winners."

Also announced today, and a big factor in the final ranking of all 20 teams, was the awarding of 150 points in the Engineering Contest. In this contest,  the engineering jury "checks under the hood" of each of the 20 houses and evaluates in detail such things as the house's building envelope—walls, ceiling, and windows; as well as indoor environmental control; mechanical; electrical; plumbing systems; and energy analysis reports.

The jury members are Kent Peterson with P2S Engineering Inc.; Bill Rittelmann with Integrate Building and Construction Solutions; Miles Russell with GreenRay, Inc.; Brent Griffith with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Susan Reilly with Enermodal Engineering, Inc.; and Norm Weaver with Fort Collins Utilities and InterWeaver Consulting. Kent presented the awards and noted that the engineering contest judges how well sustainability is married to livability; how well technology is married to architecture.

These are the placements for the Engineering Contest:

1st Place, Technische Universität Darmstadt, 136.40 points
2nd Place, University of Texas at Austin, 127.35 points
3rd Place, University of Colorado, 119.15 points

Comments from the jury included the following:

Darmstadt—The PV innovation is top notch as shown by awarding the highest innovation score possible. No other team did the integration of PV any better.

Texas at Austin—The envelope is very functional. The team provided a well-crafted technical report with a great design process discussion and showing a very effective use of modeling.

Colorado—There was a lot of innovation and the house demonstrated good functionality in the angle of the louvers to maximize heating. The house definitely had a robust control system.

Maybe the best summary of this remarkable event came from the project leader of the Santa Clara team, when he accepted their award and said, "The most important thing in a competition is not to win, but to succeed; and today, 20 teams have succeeded." We echo that thought and are proud to celebrate their tremendous accomplishments.

Now we have one more day to show off the houses to the public before the rapid disassembly and closing down of the village. That's to come in the next couple of days.