Twenty college and university teams entered zero-energy houses in the Solar Decathlon held in October, in Washington, D.C. The houses were evaluated in 10 categories including architecture, engineering, livability, heating and cooling, water heating, and powering lights and appliances.

The University of Maryland's LEAFHouse, which features a sensor network that monitors indoor climate, won second place.
Nina Patel The University of Maryland's LEAFHouse, which features a sensor network that monitors indoor climate, won second place.

A perfect score in all 10 categories results in 1,200 points. The winner, Germany's Technische Universitat Darmstadt, had 888.45 points; second- and third-place winners, the University of Maryland and Santa Clara University, had 872.45 and 860.80 points, respectively.

While congratulating the teams at the closing ceremony, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced more than $44 million to support the promotion of advanced solar and other clean-energy technologies. It is part of the Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.

This funding is part of the Building America program, a private/public partnership sponsored by the Department of Energy that conducts research to improve housing performance, increase durability and comfort, and reduce energy use. Four Building America teams — Building Science Corp., IBACOS, the Consortium of Advanced Residential Buildings, and the Building Industry Research Alliance — will receive up to $40 million over the next five years to develop net-zero-energy homes.

Bodman also announced two regional building technology application centers, one at the University of Central Florida, the other at Washington State University. These will serve 17 states and accelerate adoption of energy-efficient technologies. To find out more about the 2007 Solar Decathlon and its sponsors, go to www.solardecathlon.org.


To see photos of other Solar Decathlon entrants, go to www.remodelingmagazine.com/webextras.