First let me give you a brief background of what Solar Decathlon is. It is a competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy for the purpose of raising awareness among the general public about renewable energy and energy efficiency, and how solar energy technologies can reduce energy usage.
In this competition, 20 teams of college and university students compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Not only that, because this is also an event to experience and witnessed by the public. Not to mention that people has the chance to get inside each house while it is being build “Yes. it’s open to the public”.
The Solar Decathlon has several goals, first is to educate the student participants—the “Decathletes”—about the benefits of energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building technologies. As the next generation of engineers, architects, builders, and communicators, the Decathletes will be able to use this knowledge in their studies and their future careers.
Second purpose is to raise awareness among the general public about renewable energy and energy efficiency, and how solar energy technologies can reduce energy usage.
Third is to help solar energy technologies enter the marketplace faster. This competition encourages the research and development of energy efficiency and energy production technologies.
Other Solar Decathlon goals can be viewed here in U.S. Department of Energy website.
Now, let’s go back on to the mechanics Solar Decathlons competition. It has three major phases First is Building – This is where most of the work—and the learning—happens. In addition to designing houses that use innovative, high-tech elements in ingenious ways, students have to raise funds, communicate team activities, collect supplies, and work with contractors. Although the Solar Decathlon competition receives the most attention, it’s the hard work that students put in during the building phase that makes or breaks a team.
Second is Moving to the Solar Village – When it’s time for the Solar Decathlon, the teams transport their houses to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and rebuild them on site.
Last is Competing – During the competition itself, the teams receive points for their performance in 10 contests and open their homes to the public.
Did I mention that this competition is already over? Yes. It’s already over, and the winning team was none other than the German students.
You can watch the video of Team Germany winning entry below.
Some other teams that compete were really good. In fact, I have photos some of the entries I like. Just scroll the window down.
Other photos can be viewed from U.S. Department of Energy website.