U.S. Department of Energy - Solar Decathlon: Page 4 of 5

2013 Winning Solar Designs
Beginner

Inside this Article

The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams
The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams join together before the start of the competition at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
Large sliding glass doors bring ample natural light into the AIR House’s interior.
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
The AIR House’s simple geometric design helped earn its win in the architecture competition.
Students from Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
Students from Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University celebrate their first-place win in the architecture category.
The Ecohabit house
The Ecohabit house, which featured a lush living wall of plants, came in second in the architecture competition.
UNLV’s DesertSol house
UNLV’s DesertSol house took first place for market appeal.
South-facing PV awning
The south-facing PV awning also helps shade the doors and windows from the summer sun.
Students from UNLV
Students from UNLV celebrate their victory in the market appeal category with their DesertSol house.
Team Capitol DC's Harvest Home
Team Capitol DC specified war veterans as the intended market for their Harvest Home— a habitat for “renewal and regeneration.”
The ECHO house
The ECHO house’s innovative use of an integrated mechanical system for space heating, cooling, and water heating helped it earn first place in the engineering contest.
Motorized shades function automatically
Computer-controlled motorized shades function automatically to control solar gain through the south-facing windows of the ECHO house.
Team Ontario
Team Ontario gathers to claim their first-place win in the engineering category.
UrbanEden students at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte
The precast concrete walls of UrbanEden, designed by students at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, contain capillary tubes plumbed to roof-mounted flat-plate heat exchangers to allow heat transfer for heating and cooling.
Walter Kohn
Walter Kohn, center, recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1998, takes a guided tour of Team Austria’s house with students Philipp Klebert, left, and Claus Andreas Schnetzer, right.
Raymond Neutra
Raymond Neutra, son of an Austrian–American modern architect, signs the guest book during a tour of the Team Austria house.
Jakob Doppler and Volker Loeser
Jakob Doppler, left, explains details of the Team Austria house to Volker Loeser.
Team Austria house
Visitors line up to tour the Team Austria house.
Norwich University wins in the affordability contest.
Coming in well under the allocated construction budget earned Norwich University its win in the affordability contest.
Richard Anderson and Robert Best
Affordability contest juror Richard Anderson, left, consults with Stanford University’s Robert Best during the affordability contest walk-through.
Stanford University stayed within the Decathlon’s budget criterion
Stanford University also stayed within the Decathlon’s budget criterion, earning the full 100 points for the affordability category.
The Kentucky/Indiana team’s home
The Kentucky/Indiana team’s home was also constructed for less than $250,000, capturing all of the available points in the affordability contest.
Santa Clara University’s house
Santa Clara University’s house won the comfort zone contest.
Earthen clay on the interior of the wall helps keep the bedroom cool
A coating of earthen clay on the interior of the wall behind the bed helps keep the bedroom cool by absorbing and releasing moisture based on indoor humidity levels.
An in-ceiling hydronic system embedded in the plasterboard
An in-ceiling hydronic system embedded in the plasterboard and barely visible in the home helps keep interior temperatures comfortable in the Santa Clara University team’s home.
Missouri University of Science and Technology’s house
Flat-plate solar collectors on the Missouri University of Science and Technology’s house helped it tie with six other teams for first place in the hot water contest.
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s solar hot water system
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s solar hot water system consists of evacuated tubes on an innovative mounting system.
Scott Kollwitz of the Kentucky/Indiana team
Scott Kollwitz of the Kentucky/Indiana team conducts a hot water draw.
The University of Calgary’s Team Alberta home
The University of Calgary’s Team Alberta home was another that used evacuated-tube collectors to meet its water-heating needs.
Stevens Institute of Technology shared first place in the appliances category
Stevens Institute of Technology shared first place in the appliances category with four other teams.
The University of Southern California shared first place in the appliances category
The University of Southern California shared first place in the appliances category using standard, off-the-shelf models.
Nick Jensen of Santa Clara University
Nick Jensen of Santa Clara University explains the strategic location of the washer and dryer to Solar Decathlon visitors.
Stanford University’s appliances
Stanford University’s appliances made the grade for first place.
Team Capitol DC hide the washer and dryer from view
Team Capitol DC used a sliding wall to hide the washer and dryer from view when not in use.
Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology team
Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology team prepares a meal for the home entertainment contest.
Team Ontario’s house
The sloped exostructure of Team Ontario’s house accommodates a flush-mounted PV array.
The houses were connected to the village grid for the remainder of the homes’ construction and for the competition.
Once teams passed the necessary inspections, their houses were connected to the village grid for the remainder of the homes’ construction and for the competition.
Team Austria’s Philipp Klebert,
Team Austria’s Philipp Klebert, center, celebrates with his teammates.
Team Austria captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Team Austria captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Team Austria’s unique curtained home
Team Austria’s unique curtained home captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Students from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte took home the Solar Decathlon People’s Choice award.
The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
Students from Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
The Ecohabit house
UNLV’s DesertSol house
South-facing PV awning
Students from UNLV
Team Capitol DC's Harvest Home
The ECHO house
Motorized shades function automatically
Team Ontario
UrbanEden students at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Walter Kohn
Raymond Neutra
Jakob Doppler and Volker Loeser
Team Austria house
Norwich University wins in the affordability contest.
Richard Anderson and Robert Best
Stanford University stayed within the Decathlon’s budget criterion
The Kentucky/Indiana team’s home
Santa Clara University’s house
Earthen clay on the interior of the wall helps keep the bedroom cool
An in-ceiling hydronic system embedded in the plasterboard
Missouri University of Science and Technology’s house
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s solar hot water system
Scott Kollwitz of the Kentucky/Indiana team
The University of Calgary’s Team Alberta home
Stevens Institute of Technology shared first place in the appliances category
The University of Southern California shared first place in the appliances category
Nick Jensen of Santa Clara University
Stanford University’s appliances
Team Capitol DC hide the washer and dryer from view
Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology team
Team Ontario’s house
The houses were connected to the village grid for the remainder of the homes’ construction and for the competition.
Team Austria’s Philipp Klebert,
Team Austria captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Team Austria’s unique curtained home
Students from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Appliances

The appliances competition helps ensure that the house has standard components—an operable refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, and clothes washer and dryer. During the contest, the appliances were required to be used on a set schedule and the results were monitored. The refrigerator and freezer were required to maintain defined temperatures; the clothes washer was required to complete cycles within a specified period of time and the clothes needed to be fully dried—either by active or passive means and within a certain amount of time. The dishwasher was monitored for completing a cycle within a set period while maintaining minimum water temperatures.

The University of Southern California scored nearly perfectly in this category with four other teams—Team Capitol DC, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and Stevens Institute of Technology—scoring more than 99 of the available 100 points. All of the teams used standard off-the-shelf appliances. Other kitchen appliances and lighting systems were used and measured in the home entertainment category.

Home Entertainment

The home entertainment contest and its five sections—lighting, cooking, dinner party, house electronics, and movie night—were quantified and juried. The lighting, cooking, and house electronics portions all have defined criteria, such as minimum durations for lights operating, vaporizing a set amount of water, or minimum use of specific appliances.

The dinner party and movie nights require that each team host their neighbors for two dinners and one movie night, with the idea that the teams have to use the houses as if they were living there. For the dinner parties, the team hosted six neighbors (two guest team members from three different teams) and up to two VIPs. The guests then judge the host based on the quality of the meal, ambiance, and overall experience. The movie nights are a little less formal, yet the host team is still required to have a movie running and cater to the guests. The guests score their experiences; the final score is the average of all three.

While having competitors judge each other sounds odd, the results indicate the teams were fair in their scoring methods, since only two teams scored less than 90 points. From my experience at the Solar Decathlon, this is indicative of the overall spirit of the competition. Of course, every team is there to win, but at the same time, the teams are very collaborative and supportive of one another. That said, to make sure there isn’t any “gaming” of the system, each judge is required to provide written justification for the score they provide, allowing DOE organizers to evaluate the scores, follow up as necessary, and even throw out scores. Santa Clara University was the overall winner in this contest with their Italian- and Mexican-themed meals and comfortable house.

Energy-Balance

The energy-balance contest, which compares the total amount of energy consumed to the total amount of energy produced by the house’s solar-electric system, is the one I helped judge. In the early years of the Solar Decathlon, the houses were supplied by off-grid solar-electric systems, greatly increasing the complexity compared to grid-tied systems. The event is now supplied with a microgrid and all the PV systems in this event were grid-tied, batteryless systems.

Comments (0)

Advertisement

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading