The Solar Decathlon is a contest among international universities, where the students are challenged to design, build and operate solar-powered, energy efficient, sustainable and attractive houses. The competition was an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy and was first held in 2002. It has since then grown exponentially, and contests have been held in China, Europe, Latin America and Australia, amongst others.
The goal of the Solar Decathlon is to inform students and the world about the advantages of clean energy and to demonstrate the comfort and affordability of homes that are energy efficient.
The contest consists of 10 separate challenges: Architecture, Market potential, Engineering, Communications, Innovation, Water, Health & Comfort, Appliances, Home Life and Energy. The 10 different challenges can be considered the criteria for the participating houses, as each house has to compete in all the topics and are scored on the performance. This approach stimulates students to develop a house that is not only self-sufficient but also to take into consideration all the other aspects of a house.
In total each team can earn 1000 points, 100 for each challenge. The points will be divided by a jury that consists of professionals. The team that has achieved most points during the contest have the honour to call itself “Solar Decathlon Champion”.
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