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Left, the Illinois Solar Decathlon 2009 house blended traditional homebuilding techniques with great
advances in technology. Right, Team California’s Solar Decathlon 2009 house ranked in the top three in
nearly all the prestigious subjective contests.
RICHARD KING/U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
ENERGY SOLAR DECATHLON
JIM TE TRO/U.S. DEPAR TMEN T OF
ENERGY SOLAR DECATHLON
can provide an ample amount of energy for
Day by day, suspense built until the last
moment. Team California won best architecture and was comfortably in the lead by the fifth
day. But as the week progressed and rain set in,
strong-performing houses caught up. By the
next-to-last day, Thursday, Oct. 15, Illinois had
passed Team California to occupy first place with
649 points, and Team Germany was in a virtual
tie with Team California for second place, each
with 644 points. But when Net Metering points
were awarded the next morning, Team Germany
took the lead by 11 points for producing more
surplus power than any other team.
And the Top Spots Go to …
First Place: Team Germany (Technische Uni-versität Darmstadt). The Solar Decathlon 2007
defending champion, Team Germany came to
Washington, D.C., with a solid strategy for win-
ning. They set their sights on the Net Metering
contest (worth the most points) by using the
maximum building dimensions allowable, applying photovoltaics to every available surface and
pushing the envelope with new technologies.
Second Place: University of Illinois at Urba-na-Champaign. This team set out to express its
regional heritage and create a synergy between
old and new. It blended traditional techniques
in homebuilding with technology advances to
create a house that performed exceptionally well
in energy efficiency. Illinois also achieved elegant
simplicity in design.
Third Place: Team California (Santa Clara University, California College of the Arts). Team California excelled in some of the most prestigious
subjective contests and ranked in the top three of
nearly all of them. Beautiful in every respect, the
innovative California house masterfully melded
interior and exterior spaces while offering visitors
a high-quality learning experience.
Solar Decathlon 2009 Teams
Teams from 20 colleges and universities
competed in the Solar Decathlon 2009.
More Than a Design Competition
The Solar Decathlon is much more than an
exhibition of energy-efficient housing design. It
provides a unique training experience for our
future architects, engineers and energy leaders.
The event is also an effective outreach tool. It
enables thousands of visitors (and millions who
experience the event online) to see how houses
designed to use as little energy as possible can
also be beautiful. The Solar Decathlon experience demonstrates ways citizens can increase
energy efficiency in their own houses.
On top of these powerful results, the location
of the event on the National Mall in Washington,
D.C., draws policymakers and other influencers. Here, they can see for themselves how solar
energy and energy-efficient technologies can be
successfully integrated into the built environ-
Solar Decathlon 2009:
By the Numbers
ment. More than 35 Hill offices, including 21
Congress members, attended a reception organized by the Solar Energy Industries Association
on behalf of the Solar Decathlon. Record numbers of VIP guests — including members of the
House and Senate, as well as Secretary of Energy
Steven Chu — toured the solar village.
All of this is significant.
I feel immense pride and gratitude for
the more than 3,000 students, teams and faculty
members who made this event possible. What
they did to contribute to this event and further
the knowledge of and excitement surrounding solar energy, energy efficiency and green
building design cannot be measured. No matter
how teams scored in the competition, they all
Their accomplishments make all of us winners, too. ST