This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 05, 2002

University of Colorado Takes First Place in Solar Decathlon

The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) won first place in DOE's Solar Decathlon competition on October 5th, officially bringing an end to the 10-day competition. The University of Virginia placed second in the competition, and Auburn University came in third.

The Solar Decathlon is a team competition among universities to design and build the most energy-efficient solar-powered homes. Fourteen teams from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico brought their solar homes to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the competition, which began September 26th. As the winning team, CU most successfully blended aesthetics and modern conveniences with maximum energy production and efficiency in its solar-powered home. See the Solar Decathlon Web site.

After taking an early lead in the competition, CU further cemented its lead on Thursday by tying with Crowder College for the most amount of points in Engineering Design, which honors excellence in the design of lighting, refrigeration, and heating and air conditioning systems and the setup and operation of a home-based business. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University earned second place and the University of Maryland placed third.

As the name implies, the Solar Decathlon included 10 events on which each team was judged. CU won the "Graphics and Communication" contest, Virginia Polytechnic Institute took first place in the "Design Presentation and Simulation" contest, and the University of Virginia, the second-place winner overall, won the "Design and Livability" contest.

The remaining contests were based on energy performance. Five teams-Auburn University, Crowder College, CU, the University of Maryland, and the University of Virginia-all achieved the maximum number of points in the "Energy Balance" competition, which measured whether each house was able to supply its electrical needs throughout the competition. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University took first place in the "Getting Around" competition, which involved running errands in an electric car that was charged using excess power from their house.

The Engineering Design results mentioned above contributed part of the points for each of the remaining competitions, which were also judged on performance and energy efficiency: CU won the "Comfort Zone" contest by keeping its house at a comfortable temperature and humidity level, the University of Missouri-Rolla/Rolla Technical Institute won the "Refrigeration" contest, the University of Maryland won the "Hot Water" contest, and Crowder College won both the "Lighting" and "Home Business" contests. See the team rankings and contest descriptions on the Solar Decathlon Web site.