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German Technische Universitat Darmstadt Wins DOE's 2007 Solar Decathlon

October 19, 2007 - 3:21pm

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University of Maryland Takes 2nd Place; Santa Clara University Takes 3rd Place

WASHINGTON, DC - Germany's Technische Universitat Darmstadt has earned top honors in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  Over the past two weeks, the 2007 Solar Decathlon challenged twenty university-led teams from the U.S. and as far away as Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, and Canada to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.  Students competed in ten areas, ranging from architecture, livability, and comfort, to how well the homes provided energy for space heating and cooling, hot water, lighting, and appliances.  Technische Universitat Darmstadt earned 888.45 points out of a possible 1,200 to win the competition, followed by University of Maryland with 872.45 points and Santa Clara University with 860.80 points.

While congratulating the teams at the Closing Awards Ceremony today, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced over $44 million to support the commercialization and promotion of advanced solar and other clean energy technologies.

"I want to congratulate this year's Solar Decathlon champion Technische Universitat Darmstadt and the 19 other teams for their innovative designs and application of solar technologies. The Solar Decathlon is a great demonstration of the ways in which technology, science and design can be blended in the production of net-zero-energy homes," Secretary Bodman said.  "Promoting the early commercialization of solar and other energy efficient technologies will help secure America's clean energy future."

Four Building America contractor teams including the Building Science Corporation; IBACOS; Consortium of Advanced Residential Buildings; and Building Industry Research Alliance; these teams, consortium of academic and building industry leaders, will receive up to $40 million over the next five years (FY2008-FY2012, subject to annual appropriations) to develop net-zero-energy homes. These homes will be highly energy efficient - using 70 percent less energy than homes built to current building codes - and will incorporate solar or other onsite renewable systems to provide the balance of their energy needs. This funding is part of the Building America program,  a private/public partnership sponsored by DOE that conducts systems research to improve overall housing performance, increase housing durability and comfort, reduce energy use, and increase energy security for America's homeowners.

Secretary Bodman also announced two regional building technology application centers at The University of Central Florida and Washington State University that will serve 17 states. DOE awarded $4.1 million, subject to negotiation and annual appropriation, to accelerate the adoption of new and developing energy-efficient technologies by the market. These centers will deliver information and training on commercially available energy saving technologies, processes, and tools that have been developed by DOE and provide a regional resource for market transformation by providing technology and best practices needed to produce marketable, energy-efficient buildings.

Like the homes and technologies promoted by Building America, the Solar Decathlon's homes are net-zero-energy, yield zero carbon, and include the latest high-tech solutions and money-saving benefits to consumers, without sacrificing comfort, convenience, and aesthetics.  Each house must also produce enough "extra" energy to power an electric vehicle.  Many of the solar power and building technologies showcased on the National Mall are currently available for purchase and use.  Teams have worked for more than two years designing, building, and testing their homes - the Solar Decathlon is the culmination of that work.

The Solar Decathlon complements President Bush's Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.  The U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring this year's Solar Decathlon, along with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the American Institute of Architects; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers; the National Association of Homebuilders; the U.S. Green Building Council; and private-sector sponsors BP and Sprint.

The ten contests that make up the Solar Decathlon measure many aspects of a home's performance and appearance.  A perfect total score for all ten contests in the Solar Decathlon is 1,200 points.  Of the ten contests, Communications, as well as Lighting, Comfort Zone, Appliances, Hot Water, Energy Balance, and Getting Around are each worth up to 100 points.  The Architecture contest is worth up to 200 points, followed by Engineering and Market Viability, which are each worth up to 150 points and are scored subjectively.  Performance was measured and points were awarded daily throughout the competition.

Solar Decathlon Individual Contest Winners:

Appliances (Awarded Today)
In the Appliances contest, Texas A&M University earned the most points based on keeping refrigerators and freezers cold, for washing and drying 12 towels for two days, for cooking and serving meals, for washing dishes in a dishwasher, and running a TV and a computer, all on electricity generated from only sunlight. The team scored 98.19 out of 100 possible points.

Architecture (Awarded Monday)
Technische Universitat Darmstadt was named the winner of the Architecture Contest and was awarded 193.25 points out of a possible 200. A jury of architects judged homes on ease of entry into the house and circulation among the public and private areas; architectural strategy used to accommodate the technologies required to run the house; and generosity and sufficiency of space in the house as well as the house's strength, suitability and appropriateness of materials in the building.

Comfort Zone (Awarded Today)
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign topped the contestants in the Comfort Zone contest, with 83.4 out of 100 points for maintaining indoor temperatures between 72 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Communications (Awarded Tuesday)
The University of Maryland's communications efforts, including on-site signage, student-led tours, and team website, were judged best by the jury with a score of 98.2 points out of a possible 100.

Energy Balance (Awarded Today)
In the Energy Balance contest, teams were awarded full points if the energy supplied to their batteries by the sun was at least as much as the energy used from the batteries.  Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Santa Clara University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, University of Cincinnati, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid , and Carnegie Mellon University all earned the maximum 100 points in this contest.

Engineering (Awarded Today)
Technische Universitat Darmstadt also won the Engineering contest, which was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers, who determined which solar home best exemplified excellence in the design of heating and air conditioning systems, refrigeration, and lighting.  Technische Universitat Darmstadt scored 136.40 out of a possible 150 points.

Getting Around (Awarded Today)
The Getting Around contest required students to use electricity generated by their solar houses to power electric vehicles.  The University of Colorado earned the most points by traveling the furthest, 86.33 miles around the National Mall.

Hot Water (Awarded Today)
Five Decathlon teams earned the maximum 100 points in the hot water contest shower tests, which aimed to deliver 15 gallons of hot water in 10 minutes or less.  Of course, the water was heated by the sun. The teams were the University of Texas, Santa Clara University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Kansas and Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Lighting (Awarded Wednesday)
University of Maryland was named the winner of the Lighting Contest where teams earned points based on meeting specific lighting requirements in each room of their solar-powered home. Contest officials measured lighting levels both day and night; lighting design experts toured each house to evaluate the aesthetics, innovation and performance of the teams' lighting designs. The University of Maryland earned 79.81 points out of a possible 100.

Market Viability (Awarded Thursday)
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won the Market Viability contest which evaluates a home's market appeal, cost-effective construction and integration of solar technology into its design, having earned 114.35 points out of a possible 150 as judged by the professional jury.

The application process for the next Solar Decathlon, to be held in fall 2009, has already begun.

For more information, including a complete of teams, overall contest results, go to the Solar Decathlon website.

Media contact(s):

Jonathan Shradar, (202) 586-4940

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