U.S. Department of Energy

    German Team Wins the Architecture Contest at the Solar Decathlon

    October 15, 2007

    A team from Germany has won the Solar Decathlon's architecture contest, the first of ten contests at the event. The team from the Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt, the first-ever German team in the Solar Decathlon, won with a total of 193.25 points out of 200, followed by the University of Maryland at 189.5 points and Universidad Polit├ęcnica de Madrid at 187.5 points. For the architecture contest, a team of top architects judged the houses in three categories: "commodity," which relates to the ease of entry and movement around the home and the amount of space within it; "delight," the surprising use of ordinary or extraordinary materials; and "firmness," which assesses the house's strength and stability.

    The homes competing in the Solar Decathlon face off in ten competitions, including architecture, engineering, market viability, lighting, communications, comfort, appliances, hot water, energy balance, and the ability to power a solar car with their home. Out of these competitions, architecture ranks the highest, with a total of 200 out of 1200 points. Engineering and market viability are both worth up to 150 points, with the rest having a total of 100 points. The communications contest, worth 100 points, will be announced on October 16th. The overall winner will be announced on October 19th.

    The Solar Decathlon is a competition involving 20 university teams from across the world designing and building homes that are completely powered and heated by solar energy. It is sponsored by the DOE; DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the American Institute of Architects; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers; the National Association of Homebuilders; the U.S. Green Building Council; and private-sector sponsors BP and Sprint. See the DOE press release and the Solar Decathlon Web site for daily updates, current standings and high-resolution photos.