Solar Decathlon demonstrates power of green technologies

Mon, 11/11/2013 - 11:34

The U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon has long been celebrated as an opportunity for the best and brightest to demonstrate the power of green energy. The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams across the world to design, build and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. Only by blending the use of a number of energy-efficient technologies are teams able to create a structure that meets all of these criteria. 
Contestants spend about two years designing and building the structures that they will submit to the judges. The Deccan Herald reported that the judging is made up of 10 separate tests and contests to gauge how well the house will perform, how livable the property is and whether the structure is affordable for the average person. Each contest is worth 100 points, for a total competition possible score of 1,000. Contractor Magazine reported that 19 college and university teams from across the world submitted designs for the biennial Solar Decathlon. 
Team Austria's LISI (Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation) Home won the decathlon this year. According to the news source, the structure is a modular timber structure with a flexible layout that allows for individual touches by the designer for greater autonomy and creative interior design. This allows potential homeowners to take full advantage of the building's exterior and interior spaces. 
Technologies included in many of the creations were designed to reduce the operational costs associated with the property and limit energy use. As a result, it was crucial to use solutions that were compatible with solar energy. Radiant floor heating systems were a commonly used utility option throughout many of the structures because the technology uses less energy than traditional resources and boosts comfort.