Collegiates Design Innovative Solar-Powered Homes in Bi-Annual Solar Decathlon

By: | January 10th, 2014

Showcasing Sustainable Living

The US Department of Energy holds a number of decathlons related to renewable energy. One event is a competition amongst collegiate teams building electric cars. Another is the “Solar Decathlon” held every two years in which 20 universities from around the world get together to design and build solar homes that are not only energy efficient but comfortable to live in and affordable.

Entries are judged on 10 categories with the highest overall combined score taking home the top prize. Last year’s (2013) teams were:

    • Arizona State University and The University of New Mexico
    • Czech Republic: Czech Technical
    • University Kentucky/Indiana
    • University of Louisville
    • Ball State University and University of Kentucky
    • Middlebury College
    • Missouri University of Science and Technology
    • Norwich University
    • Santa Clara University
    • Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology
    • Stanford University
    • Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Team Alberta: University of Calgary
    • Team Austria: Vienna
    • University of Technology Team Capitol DC: The Catholic University of America
    • George Washington University, and American University Team Ontario:
    • Queen’s University
    • Carleton University, and Algonquin College Team Texas: The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College
    • Tidewater Virginia: Hampton University and Old Dominion University
    • University of Nevada Las Vegas
    • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
    • University of Southern California
    • West Virginia University.

Team Austria 2013 Winner

The 2013 winner was the Vienna University of Technology team. Full specs of their design can be found at LISI. The teams not only come up with solar homes, but often tailor them to specific housing needs. For example:

  • homes that can be quickly built at a disaster site to help house families that have lost their homes.
  • homes designed for disabled veterans that include the facilities they need to live, from wheelchair friendly design to food growing areas
  • homes that are mobile, allowing occupants to move from place to place

The focus of the solar decathlon is to make energy more central to people’s lives. A sustainable house, if designed well, helps and encourages occupants to easily live a sustainable lifestyle. According to participants, sustainable living can be trendy, comfortable and convenient.

The Solar Decathlon not only motivates college students to get involved in designing and building sustainable structures but younger generations as well who visit the decathlon in person or online as part of a classroom activity.

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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