Solar Decathlon | 2010.07.01


Solar Decathlon Research Outline

I.  Preface

A.  There is some irony that the studies for energy savings were all based on suburban or rural models.  It’s projected that 90% of the future human population will be urban.  The efficiencies of the urban model for both energy and infrastructural requirements will be an absolute necessity for the human race.  By far, the most energy efficient move one can make is to go urban.

B.  According to experts, passive design is far more effective than active technologies.

C.  A vision for the future must not ignore A&B.

II.  Summary

A.  Holistic designs did best.  They successfully incorporated Passive Design ( with Passive and Active Technologies.

B.  No apparent magic bullet or smoking gun.  No single technology seemed to give anyone an overwhelming advantage. 

C.  Be efficient.  Efficient plans = less area to condition = less energy required.  Multi-use spaces are good.  A three in one space requires 1/3 the area as having a space for each use.

D.  The beauty to passive design is that it’s permanent; it doesn’t become antiquated.  Passive design is the smartest move one can make; it’s free to implement and highly effective.  A passively designed house can require as little as ¼ the energy as a home that ignores passive fundamentals.

E.  Smart home technologies were consistently used…ie:  and

F.  Results:

III.  Notable Teams

A.  Team Germany:

  1. Won 1st Place
  2. Had about 4 times the amount of solar panels as most
  3. VIP- Vacuum Insulated Panels…

B. Team Illinois:

1.  Won 2nd Place

2.  Required ¼ the energy of Germany …Straight forward common sense design

3.  Supposedly created 4 times the energy than it needed

4.  Much less window openings than others.

5.  Airtap water heater…

C.  Team California:

1.  Won 3rd Place

2.  Californians… no 90 degree angles

3. Liked the building monitoring aspect

D.  Team Virginia Tech:

1.  Some cool technologies:

2.  This was a great idea:

3.  Good performance considering the amount of glass.