Engineering

2011 Solar Decathlon Competition Heats Up

Twenty college and university teams from around the world will be heading to the country's capital to show off their solar housing design and building expertise. The United States Department of Energy recently announced the winners that will compete in the next Solar Decathlon, which will be held on the National Mall in Washington, DC in fall 2011.

For two weeks next year, teams of students will compete to design, build, and operate the most affordable, attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The competition highlights affordable homes that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems that are on the market today.

"These students are tomorrow's leaders in helping develop a clean energy economy," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Their innovative projects will help raise public awareness about energy efficiency, help save consumers money, and reduce carbon pollution."

Winners at this phase of the competition were picked through a two-part process. First, a panel made up of engineers, scientists, and members of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory evaluated applications from potential contenders. Teams had to address specific criteria to demonstrate the viability of their project, including their ability to design and build the house, raise funds, support the project through curriculum, and assemble a team necessary to carry the project through to completion. Second, representatives from industry associations evaluated team designs.

The results of the evaluations were tallied to determine these winning teams:

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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