Love designing high-performance buildings? Ready for the experience of a lifetime? The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge is ready for you.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The winners will be those teams that best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production.
The Solar Decathlon “pushes the envelope” on the design of the high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while leveraging opportunities to foster student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities.
Collegiate teams that compete in the annual Design Challenge create residential or commercial building designs that will be evaluated on how well they meet the nation’s rapidly evolving demand for innovative, cost-effective, quick-to-build, high-quality, resilient, grid-interconnected, efficient buildings that respond to targeted community needs.
Teams can start preparing for the Solar Decathlon 2020 Design Challenge, planned for April 17–19, 2020, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Below are key dates for the 2020 Design Challenge:
- July 2019—Solar Decathlon Competition Guide is released, and the team application opens.
- November 2019—All Design Challenge participating teams must complete the team application.
- September 2019 to March 2020—Webinars and building science trainings are offered.
- April 17‒19, 2020—Finalist teams complete their project submissions and compete with presentations to industry leaders.
The Solar Decathlon Design Challenge partners with building industry sponsors that provide technical support for project teams, invaluable jury feedback, and once-in-a-lifetime networking and talent recruitment opportunities for student participants. 2019 Challenge sponsors included:
- Ingersoll Rand
- SolarEdge Technologies
- Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
- DuPont Building Knowledge Center
- Illuminating Engineering Society
- Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
- Owens Corning
- Plastics Pipe Institute
- Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA)
- Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA)
- The Spray Foam Coalition (ACC)
- Thrive Home Builders
Winning teams are recognized at an awards banquet, and winning project presentations are published on the Solar Decathlon website. The competition and winners are promoted through a variety of media outreach efforts, which provide participants and their collegiate institutions an opportunity for national exposure. Collegiate institutions that participate in the Design Challenge are recognized as leaders who are producing career-ready professionals with cutting-edge skills. Industry partners who collaborate with teams gain national and local recognition and have the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable future design and construction professionals.