Are you interested in designing high-performance buildings that tackle climate change and promote environmental justice? Do you love the thrill of competing with and getting to know top students across the country and around the world? If so, the U.S Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is for you!
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design highly efficient, innovative, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy. The 10 Contests of the Solar Decathlon address building science, energy efficiency, occupant experience, community needs, affordability, resilience, and embodied environmental impact.
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. The program is excited to offer six different divisions: New Housing, Retrofit Housing, Attached Housing, Multifamily Building, Office Building, and Education Building. Teams can start planning now for the Solar Decathlon 2022 Design Challenge.
The 2022 Design Challenge adds a new building Division—Retrofit Housing—and has combined other Divisions to better focus on improving the current building stock. In the Retrofit Housing Division, teams modify an existing dwelling that consists of one or two units. Through renovation, the building will reach zero energy construction through upgrades to systems, such as plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and envelope. Partnerships with building owners are also encouraged to develop zero energy designs for real building projects across the country and around the world.
Winning teams are recognized at an awards banquet with handcrafted trophies, 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 international exposure. Collegiate institutions that participate in the Solar Decathlon are recognized as leaders who are producing career-ready professionals with cutting-edge skills.