Alternative Energy & Fuels

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Energy Department Announces its Solar Decathlon Student Competition

24 Oct, 2018


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is excited to announce its Solar Decathlon student competition to challenge collegiate teams to design and build high-performance, energy-efficient buildings. The winners of the competition, which spans 2019 and 2020, are the teams that best blend design excellence with smart energy efficiency and renewable energy production. Teams interested in participating must submit an application and $100 application fee by November 6, 2018, at 5 p.m.

Solar Decathlon continues to push the envelope on design of the most high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while leveraging opportunities to showcase student innovation and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, as well as to foster workforce development opportunities.

The next Solar Decathlon offers two tracks: (1) an annual "Design Challenge" and (2) a biennial "Build Challenge."

  • Design Challenge teams work for one or two academic semesters to complete a design project that represents a high-performance building so energy-efficient that a renewable energy system could offset all the building’s annual energy consumption, including electric vehicle charging. Finalist teams will present their designs to industry leaders and jurors in Golden, Colorado in April 2019, where Design Challenge winners will be determined.
  • Build Challenge teams work during a two-year period to design and build complete, functional houses to demonstrate the effective integration of building science principles and best-practice guidelines for the building envelope and mechanical systems into a compelling architectural design.  Build teams will compete and exhibit their solutions before panels of industry expert jurors in Washington, D.C. in July 2020, as part of the 2020 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Teams can participate in the Design Challenge, the Build Challenge, or both. Design Challenge and Build Challenge teams must submit an application and $100 application fee by November 6, 2018, at 5 p.m. EST. Teams that are interested in competing in the Build Challenge must also submit an extensive Build Challenge Proposal and supporting materials by that deadline. All requirements are outlined in the Solar Decathlon Competition Guide.

Since the first Solar Decathlon was held in Washington, D.C., in 2002, the competition has expanded to Africa, China, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East to involve more than 200 teams and 35,000 collegiate participants worldwide.

Additional details about the competition can be found on the Solar Decathlon website. DOE is excited to work with the next generation of building industry leaders and energy professionals!

Check out the winners of DOE's 2017 Solar Decathlon.

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