Team Austria receives top honors at the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Seasoned experts are most often expected to push the home building industry forward, but the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Decathlon shows that students can be some of the industry’s greatest innovators. For this year’s event, held at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., 19 collegiate teams met the challenge to create cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive homes. After tallying up the scores from 10 different parts of the competition, Team Austria, consisting mostly of students from Vienna University of Technology, finished first in the closest Solar Decathlon ever. The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) came in second, while the Czech Republic (Czech Technical University) took third. Out of a possible 1,000 points, less than seven points separated the top three teams.
Recipe for success
Philipp Klebert celebrates with the rest of Team Austria after learning they were the overall winners of the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Hundreds of thousands of people visited the Solar Village in October to tour the houses and learn about energy-efficient design and construction.
Rob Best from Stanford University meets with Richard Anderson, Affordability Contest juror. Stanford’s entry tied for first in that contest, with a cost of $234,092.