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

October 12, 2005

Virginia Tech Claims Early Lead in the Solar Decathlon


Photo of a box-car-shaped white building with a row of clerestory windows along its top and solar panels partially visible on the roof.

The Virginia Tech solar home won the Dwelling and Architecture contests on October 10th.
Credit: Chris Gunn, Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon team from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University took first place in both the Dwelling and Architecture competitions on October 10th, giving the team a narrow early lead in the competition. On October 11th, the University of Colorado team won the Communications contest, vaulting it into third place. Eighteen teams from 13 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Spain, are competing in the Solar Decathlon, which challenges student teams to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The teams have built their 18 solar homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., forming a temporary solar village. See the Solar Decathlon Web site.

The Dwelling, Architecture, and Communications competitions were the first three of ten competitions at the event, and teams from California Polytechnic State University (in second place on October 11th), the New York Institute of Technology, the University of Texas, Cornell University, Universidad de Puerto Rico, and the University of Maryland also scored high in those competitions. But scores in five of the competitions—Comfort Zone, Appliances, Hot Water, Lighting, and Getting Around—are tallied in real time as the competition progresses, so the standings can shift quickly based on the performance of each house. Check the current status by clicking on "Updated Scores & Standings" on the Scores and Standings page of the Solar Decathlon Web site.

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman officially opened the competition on October 6th. Secretary Bodman announced that the Solar Decathlon will now be a biannual event, and successful proposals for the 2007 event will be awarded grants of $100,000 each, up from the current award of $5,000. DOE also released the request for proposals (RFP) for the 2007 event. See the DOE press release and Secretary Bodman's comments, and access the RFP on the Solar Decathlon 2007 page of the Solar Decathlon Web site.

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