Mark your calendars: The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon — America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses — will open October 8 in Irvine, California.
Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes — homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption — have become.
Here is a video from 2013, to see how it works:
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
- California State University, Sacramento
- Clemson University
- Crowder College and Drury University
- Missouri University of Science and Technology
- New York City College of Technology
- State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University
- Stevens Institute of Technology
- University of Florida, National University of Singapore, and Santa Fe College
- The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen
- University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College
- Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University
- West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
- Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana
- Yale University.
Like the Olympic decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests. These contests are designed to gauge how well the houses perform and how livable and affordable they are. Each contest is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a competition total of 1,000 points.
Teams can earn points three ways:
- Task completion
Teams complete household tasks such as cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry.
- Monitored performance
Team houses perform to specified criteria, such as maintaining a comfortable (71°–76°F) indoor temperature range.
- Jury evaluation
Jurors who are experts in their field (such as architecture, engineering, and communications) award points for features that cannot be measured (such as aesthetics and design inspiration).
Contests based on task completion or monitored performance are called measured contests; contests based on jury evaluation are call juried contests.
Here are links to learn more about the 10 Solar Decathlon 2015 contests:
- Architecture Contest (juried)
- Market Appeal Contest (juried)
- Engineering Contest (juried)
- Communications Contest (juried)
- Affordability Contest (juried)
- Comfort Zone Contest (measured)
- Appliances Contest (measured)
- Home Life Contest (measured)
- Commuting Contest (measured)
- Energy Balance Contest (measured).
The collegiate teams will arrive at the Solar Decathlon village at Orange County Great Park on September 28 to begin onsite assembly. The teams will spend nine action-packed days in a sprint to rebuild their one-of-a-kind houses in time for opening day.
Team houses will be open to the public free of charge at Orange County Great Park October 8-11 and October 15-18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. The overall winner will be announced October 17 at 10 a.m.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.