Our Criteria

The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 has 10 contests, each worth 100 points, for a grand total of 1000. The contests are:

  1. Architecture Contest: Houses built are attractive, high performance, and completely powered by solar energy. A jury of professional architects evaluates the teams on the basis of concept, design, implementation, innovation, and documentation.


  1. Market Appeal Contest: Teams select their target audience and design their houses as primary residences. The jury, consisting of homebuilding industry professionals, evaluates the livability, marketability, and buildability of the houses.


  1. Engineering Contest: A jury of professional engineers evaluates innovation, functionality, efficiency, reliability, and documentation of the various engineering aspects of the houses as teams strive to represent the best of modern engineering.


  1. Communications Contest: Teams educate the public about their houses by engaging in public relations activities. Communications strategy, electronic communications, public exhibitions, and audiovisual presentations are evaluated by a jury of communications professionals.


  1. Affordability Contest: Houses involve constructions and appliances that are energy-efficient and powered by renewable energy systems. Teams target a total construction cost—determined by a professional estimator—of under $250,000 for each house.


  1. Comfort Zone Contest: Designs afford temperature and humidity conditions which are steady, uniform, and comfortable. Teams win points on matching strict standards of in-house comfort.


  1. Appliances Contest: Operations and appliances in the houses resemble those typically performed and utilized by US homes. Teams complete day-to-day tasks like using refrigerator, washer, and drier, among other things.


  1. Home Life Contest: The houses prove themselves as homes. They demonstrate their ability to meet daily necessities such us provide for warm shower and arrange for social entertainment like dinner parties.


  1. Commuting Contest: Teams simulate the driving patterns of the average household. This includes driving 25 miles within 2 hours eight times during the contest week using energy solely generated by the houses.


  1. Energy Balance: Bidirectional utility measures in the houses record the amount of energy produced and consumed during the competition. Teams strive to consume a total of under 175kWh of energy and produce more than they consume.


Click the logo below for more information.

Solar Decathlon Logo