Our guest blogger is A. Siegel, of Get Energy Smart Now. The Solar Decathlon is running on Potomac Park off the National Mall until Oct. 2.
In the fifth Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, 19 university teams are competing to build the best solar-powered house in 10 categories, each for 100 points, for a total of 1000 points. As with an Olympic Decathlon, the overall winner might actually not win any of the categories but simply be a top performer across all of them. The winning house:
— 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.
These are the 10 Solar Decathlon 2011 contests: the first five are judged by expert juries: Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Communications, and Affordability. The second five are quantitatively measured: Comfort Zone, Hot Water, Appliances, Home Entertainment, and the all-important Energy Balance.
The most significant competition change from the past is the creating of a cost category which emphasizes affordability.
While cost considerations were part of “marketability” in the past competitions, this was not necessarily a serious element. One team discussed with me in 2009 how they had worked hard to have an audited cost estimate and then discovered that only a few other teams had made similar efforts. Whether correct or not, they were frustrated that, in their perspective, this was not a serious element of the competition analysis. This new category might well have driven the teams into designs that will be marketable at scale.
The 2011 Solar Decathlon Competitors
– The Solar Homestead, Appalachian State University
– TRTL – Technological Residence, Traditional Living, University of Calgary, Canada
– perFORM[D]ance House, Florida International University
– Re_home, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
– WaterShed, University of Maryland
– Self-Reliance, Middlebury College
– First Light, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
– enCORE, Ohio State University
– Empowerhouse, Parsons the New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology
– INhome, Purdue University
– CHIP, The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARCH) and California Institute of Technology (CALTECH)
– E-Cube, Team Belgium, Ghent University
– Y Container, Team China
– FLeX House, Team Florida (The University of South Florida, Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, and The University of Florida)
– 4D Home, Team Massachusetts (Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell)
– Solar Roofpod, Team New York (City College of New York)
– ENJOY House, Team New Jersey (State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology)
– Living Light, University of Tennessee
– Unit 6 Unplugged, Tidewater Virginia (Old Dominion University and Hampton University)