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Virginia Tech wins architecture, dwelling contests at Solar Decathlon

Virginia Tech has taken an early lead in the Solar Decathlon, now underway on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., by winning Architecture and Dwelling, the first two of 10 contests in the competition. The Decathlon involves 18 collegiate teams from the U.S. including Puerto Rico, Canada and Spain to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.

The 2005 Solar Decathlon pits 18 collegiate teams from the U.S. including Puerto Rico, Canada and Spain in a competition to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home. Students compete in 10 areas ranging from architecture, livability and comfort to how well the homes provide energy for space heating and cooling, hot water, lighting, and appliances. Each house also must produce enough “extra” power for an electric car.

In Architecture, Virginia Tech finished with 200 of the 200 available points, followed by California Polytechnic State University (192 points) and, tied for third place, the New York Institute of Technology and Cornell University (188 points). All other contests are worth 100 points.

Architecture and Dwelling were judged by a panel of world-renowned architects, authors and designers. Judges in the Architecture Contest looked at the aesthetic appeal of each house as well as which one best integrated solar and energy-efficient technologies seamlessly into the home’s design.

“We saw some amazingly high quality work across the board and it exceeded our expectations,” said Sarah Suzanka, chair of the Architecture Contest judging panel. “The teams came to the problem from so many different perspectives, it made the jury’s job more difficult, but also more interesting. The students, their professors and the schools themselves deserve a lot of credit for making this happen.”

In the next contest, Dwelling, Virginia Tech took first place with 99 points, California Polytechnic State University earned second place (95 points) and third place went to the New York Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin in a tie (92 points).

For Dwelling, judges focused on comfort and livability, including how close each house came to meeting the needs for single-family-home living, including its “buildability,” or ease of construction and replication of design.

“The students participating in this competition are stewards of our future,” said Katherine Salant, chair of the Dwelling Contest judging panel, “and with what they’ve shown here, we have great things to look forward to. The ideas and intellectual energy generated were beyond what I had imagined.”

Results from the next of the 10 contests, Communications, will be announced tomorrow, Oct. 11, at 10 a.m. EDT at the Solar Village on the National Mall between 7th and 14th Streets. The ceremony will take place at the 14th Street end outside the large white tent.

The Decathlon began Oct. 7 and will run through Oct. 14. The Solar Village will be open to the public through Oct. 16.


The primary sponsor of the Solar Decathlon is DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory and private-sector sponsors the American Institute of Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, BP, the DIY Network and Sprint Nextel.

Editors’ notes: For more information and a complete list of teams, go to www.solardecathlon.org. Professional high-resolution JPEG photos with photo captions are available on that site and at https://www.eere-pmc.energy.gov/sd05 and will be updated daily during the competition. Please contact John Horst at 303/434-2823 or john.horst@go.doe.gov for questions about photos.


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