The University of Colorado at Boulder took first place in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Solar Decathlon, a 10-day competition among university teams from around the country. David Garman, DOE's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, made the award presentations. The University of Virginia captured second place, while Auburn University took third.
"The University of Colorado at Boulder has earned their place in the sun, with their win in the first-ever Solar Decathlon," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "After a year-and-a-half of intense work, designing, building and competing, the students should be very pleased with their accomplishment. The competition was a real test of their abilities and their willingness to pit their talents against some of the best schools in the nation, and they proved themselves worthy of this honor."
The Solar Decathlon ran from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Teams from 14 universities competed by building homes blending aesthetics and modern conveniences with maximum energy production and efficiency. In appearance the homes are a mix of traditional and modern, but all are powered entirely by the sun and incorporate state-of-the-art energy efficiency technologies.
For the competition, the solar decathletes devised methods for harnessing the power of the sun to supply all the energy for the household, including a home-based business, along with the transportation needs of the household and business.
Each house, limited to roughly 500 square feet for purposes of the competition, were judged on 10 criteria to determine which most efficiently employed solar energy for heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, appliances, computers and charging an electric car. The teams competed in the 10 contests simultaneously.
"The Solar Decathlon proves that solar energy is practical today," Secretary Abraham added. "It is affordable, and solar-powered homes can be livable and attractive. Our investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies can contribute to the nation's energy security."
Sponsors of the Solar Decathlon, in addition to DOE, included BP Solar, The Home Depot, EDS, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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