The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizes a competition every two years for challenging collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of this competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. These teams spend almost those two years building a house to compete in the 10 contests of the Solar Decathlon (Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Communications, Affordability, Comfort Zone, Hot Water, Appliances, Home Entertainment and Energy Balance).
The winning team should create a house that:
- Is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in
- Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
- Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment
- Provides adequate hot water
- Produces as much or more energy than it consumes.
WaterShed, the University of Maryland’s entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, was the winner in the last edition, and consists in a solar-powered home that comprises systems which interact with each other and the environment. Would you like to see it? Have a look to this video and discover which houses were the other two finalists!