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