Originally published on Green Building Elements
by Dawn Killough
Solar Decathlon 2015, a design and build competition involving university teams from around the globe, kicked off today with keynote speaker US Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz. The Decathlon asks teams to design and build homes powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in, which are judged in several competitions. The homes are on display throughout the competition so spectators can tour them.
“These inspiring collegiate teams show the world how energy-efficient building design and clean energy products available today can help families and businesses save money by saving energy,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.
“The event provides student competitors with unique real-world training to become the clean energy workforce of the future and helps ensure that our nation remains competitive in the global race for clean energy.”
In addition to educating the public about money-saving and energy-saving opportunities available today, this award-winning competition engages students from across the nation and around the world to develop the skills and knowledge to become the next generation of architects, engineers and clean energy entrepreneurs.
Over the last decade, the competition has prepared approximately 20,000 students to become future innovators in clean energy technologies and efficient building designs that cut carbon pollution and help slow the effects of climate change to leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.
Student teams in the 2015 competition hail from five countries across two continents, including teams from universities in the United States, Germany, Honduras, Italy, and Panama.
Over the next nine days, they will compete in 10 contests that gauge each house’s performance, livability, and affordability. The affordability contest rewards teams that build houses with estimated costs at or below $250,000. The teams will have to perform a variety of everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, to test the livability and energy use of their houses. The winner of the overall competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
The teams in this year’s Solar Decathlon were chosen nearly two years ago through a competitive process. The selected teams and their projects represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, and geographic locations, climates and regions – including urban, suburban and rural settings. They also aim to reach a broad range of target housing markets, including empty nesters, disaster relief, multigenerational, and single family. Teams have gathered their combined interdisciplinary talents to design and build the houses, as well as to raise funds, furnish and decorate the houses, and optimize the houses’ performance.
Read about some of the teams competing in this year’s event: Team Orange County, Team Yale, New York City’s College of Technology, Munich Technical University and University of Texas, Austin.
Source and Photos: Solar Decathlon, Solar Decathlon Flickr page
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