The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the winners of the 21st annual Solar Decathlon®. As the DOE's longest-running student competition, the Solar Decathlon challenges the next generation of building professionals to design and construct high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy. This year's top honors went to Ball State University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The competition promotes student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities in the buildings industry.
The Competition and its Impact
Since its inception in 2002, the Solar Decathlon has engaged more than 40,000 students worldwide. Many of these students have gone on to become architects, engineers, and researchers. The competition comprises two main challenges: the Design Challenge, a one- to two-semester design-only contest, and the Build Challenge, a two-year design-build competition.
Ball State University emerged as the winner of the 2023 Build Challenge with their zero-energy home, "Alley House." This innovative project aimed to reimagine a zero-energy future for historically under-utilized urban lots, creating a high-performance, functional family home. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and The University of British Columbia secured second and third place, respectively.
In the Design Challenge, University of Minnesota Twin Cities and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art earned the Residential Grand Winner and Commercial Grand Winner titles, respectively. University of Minnesota Twin Cities developed a deep-energy retrofit for a three-story housing structure, while The Cooper Union designed an educational building for the renovation and extension of the New York Harbor School.
A Bright Future for Clean Energy
The Solar Decathlon showcases the dedication, creativity, and passion of students and faculty in the pursuit of clean energy solutions. As Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk noted, these inspiring individuals are essential in ensuring the benefits of clean energy spread far and wide. The competition not only drives innovation but also helps prepare the next generation of leaders to tackle the challenges of building America's clean energy future.
For an interactive tour of this year's cutting-edge buildings, visit the Virtual Village.
To celebrate the achievements of the participating teams, re-watch the Awards Ceremony.
Both experiences offer a unique insight into the world of sustainable design and construction, highlighting the incredible talent of students from around the world.
The 21st annual Solar Decathlon serves as a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in addressing pressing environmental challenges. With dedicated students and faculty pushing the boundaries of sustainable design and construction, the future of clean energy looks bright indeed. Congratulations to Ball State University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on their well-deserved victories.
Read the DOE Press Release to learn about the winners.