The Solar Decathlon 2015 Has Begun

Solar Decathlon 2015 Group
Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Collegiate teams involving hundreds of students from around the world have assembled at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., to showcase their highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015. The opening ceremony on October 8th, headlined by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, kicked off the highly anticipated biennial competition that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate houses powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in.

“These inspiring collegiate teams show the world how energy-efficient building design and clean energy products available today can help families and businesses save money by saving energy,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “The event provides student competitors with unique real-world training to become the clean energy workforce of the future and helps ensure that our nation remains competitive in the global race for clean energy.”

In addition to educating the public about money-saving and energy-saving opportunities available today, this award-winning competition engages students from across the nation and around the world to develop the skills and knowledge to become the next generation of architects, engineers and clean energy entrepreneurs. Over the last decade, the competition has prepared approximately 20,000 students to become future innovators in clean energy technologies and efficient building designs that cut carbon pollution and help slow the effects of climate change to leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. The Solar Decathlon also supports the Obama administration’s goal of transitioning to a clean energy economy while saving families and businesses money.

Student teams in the 2015 competition hail from five countries across two continents, including teams from universities in the United States, Germany, Honduras, Italy, and Panama. Over the next nine days, they will compete in 10 contests that gauge each house’s performance, livability, and affordability. The affordability contest rewards teams that build houses with estimated costs at or below $250,000. The teams will have to perform a variety of everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, to test the livability and energy use of their houses. The winner of the overall competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Thousands are expected to visit the houses, which will be open to the public free of charge on eight days over two weekends:  from Thursday, October 8, through Sunday, October 11, and again from Thursday, October 15, through Sunday, October 18, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm PDT. Visitors are able to tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today. The overall winner will be announced on Saturday, October 17, at 9:45 am PDT. This Solar Decathlon is the seventh such competition since 2002.

Missouri University of Science and Technology Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Missouri University of Science and Technology
Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

This year’s collegiate teams were chosen nearly two years ago through a competitive process. The selected teams and their projects represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, and geographic locations, climates and regions – including urban, suburban and rural settings. They also aim to reach a broad range of target housing markets, including empty nesters, disaster relief, multigenerational, and single family. Teams have gathered their combined interdisciplinary talents to design and build the houses, as well as to raise funds, furnish and decorate the houses, and optimize the houses’ performance.

Current Standings:

1. Stevens 54.432 Comfort Zone: 14.993 points (ranked 2)Appliances: 13.876 points (ranked 1)Home Life: 13.063 points (ranked T1)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
2. Missouri S&T 53.732 Comfort Zone: 14.755 points (ranked 3)Appliances: 13.414 points (ranked 3)Home Life: 13.063 points (ranked T1)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
3. Cal Poly 52.864 Comfort Zone: 14.293 points (ranked 4)Appliances: 13.365 points (ranked 4)Home Life: 12.906 points (ranked 2)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
4. U at Buffalo 51.127 Comfort Zone: 15.212 points (ranked 1)Appliances: 13.674 points (ranked 2)Home Life: 9.938 points (ranked T7)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
5. Sacramento State 50.876 Comfort Zone: 12.253 points (ranked 6)Appliances: 13.060 points (ranked 7)Home Life: 13.063 points (ranked T1)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
6. Team NY Alfred 49.384 Comfort Zone: 11.763 points (ranked 7)Appliances: 12.259 points (ranked 10)Home Life: 13.063 points (ranked T1)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
7. Crowder/Drury 49.128 Comfort Zone: 10.284 points (ranked 9)Appliances: 13.281 points (ranked 6)Home Life: 13.063 points (ranked T1)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
8. West Virginia/Rome 48.109 Comfort Zone: 12.325 points (ranked 5)Appliances: 12.900 points (ranked 8)Home Life: 10.563 points (ranked 5)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
9. UC Davis 46.251 Comfort Zone: 10.626 points (ranked 8)Appliances: 13.384 points (ranked 4)Home Life: 9.938 points (ranked T7)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
10. Clemson 45.580 Comfort Zone: 9.944 points (ranked 10)Appliances: 10.074 points (ranked 11)Home Life: 13.063 points (ranked T1)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
11. Team Orange County 43.637 Comfort Zone: 8.334 points (ranked 12)Appliances: 12.697 points (ranked 9)Home Life: 10.281 points (ranked 6)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
12. Texas/Germany 43.424 Comfort Zone: 8.609 points (ranked 11)Appliances: 9.734 points (ranked 12)Home Life: 12.781 points (ranked 3)Commuting: 12.500 points (ranked T1)
13. Mass/Central America 26.982 Comfort Zone: 6.833 points (ranked 13)Appliances: 8.612 points (ranked 13)Home Life: 11.594 points (ranked 4)
14. NY City Tech 1.881 Comfort Zone: 1.302 points (ranked 14)Appliances: 0.580 points (ranked 14)


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