Energy Department Honors Solar Decathlon Winners

Saturday, October 5, 2002

Energy Department Honors Solar Decathlon Winners University of Colorado at Boulder Takes First in Solar Household Competition

Washington, D.C. - The University of Colorado at Boulder took first place in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Solar Decathlon, officially bringing an end to the 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 that blend 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 had to figure ways to harness the power of the sun to supply all the energy for an entire 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).

DOE provided each team with a $5,000 stipend toward the construction of their solar house. The teams raised the rest of the money they needed to design, construct and transport the houses to Washington, D.C. BP Solar, one of the world's leading solar electric companies, manufactures, designs, markets and installs a wide range of crystalline silicon and new generation thin film solar electric products and systems. BP Solar contributed discounted solar panels as well as advice on solar power systems, money for building the Solar Village, and volunteers.

Founded in 1978, The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer and the largest retailer of energy conservation products.

The Home Depot contributed free and discounted building supplies for the Solar Decathlon teams, advice on construction, money for building the Solar Village, and volunteers.

EDS, the leading global services company, provides strategy, implementation, business transformation and operational solutions for clients managing the business and technology complexities of the digital economy. EDS contributed wireless communications and Internet services for the Solar Village, as well as financial contributions and volunteers. EDS will also host "Technology Day" on Oct. 4.

Since 1875, the American Institute of Architects has represented the professional interests of America's architects. Through education, government advocacy, community redevelopment and public outreach activities, the AIA and its 70,000 members work to achieve a higher standard of professionalism for architects while expressing their commitment to excellence in design and livability in our nation's buildings and cities.

NREL is a DOE national laboratory managed by Midwest Research Institute, Battelle and Bechtel. In addition to its work in solar photovoltaics and energy-efficient buildings, the lab is a leading center for research into wind energy, plant- and waste-derived fuels and chemicals, advanced vehicle design, geothermal energy and hydrogen fuel cells. Visit NREL online at

For more on the Solar Decathlon, see

For more information, please contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090 or email

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