USGBC Students National Chair Perspective: The 2011 Solar Decathlon

Published on: 
30 Sep 2011
Jill Bellenger

Morning rain and clouds thankfully gave way to a bright and sunny day for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. University students from across the country as well as several from around the world have been displaying the fruits of their hard work in an exciting and innovative energy challenge. Seventeen student groups in total are still competing for the coveted title of the most energy-efficient solar home in a daily series of contests, ranging from affordability, comfort, and market appeal.

The award ceremony, held in the Capitol, gave honors to the top three teams that demonstrated winning scores in the Architecture category. Richard King, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy was among the announcers at the ceremony, which also included Managing Director of Global Community Affairs at Applied Materials Mark Walker, and Rhone Resch, president and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) received special recognition for being an instrumental part of the program’s continued success and for challenging New Jersey’s universities to compete.

The winners of the Architecture award, from first to third place 

Dennis A. Andrejko, vice president of the American Institute of Architects, described the glowing praise of the Architecture category jurors as he went on to present the awards. First place standings went to the University of Maryland’s WaterShed home for its net zero achievement, resource conservation and innovative design techniques. In second place, Team New Zealand’s First Light house was honored for its clever floor plan design, inventive approach to sustainable design, and its intelligent lighting design. And finally, Appalachian State University, a People’s Choice favorite, demonstrated a well-proportioned space and a memorable outdoor space, landing it at third place in the Architecture category.

The competition continues until October 2nd, with final winners announced on October 1st, so there is still time to get in on the action at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park, just off the Tidal Basin. Be sure to check out the current standings and cast your vote for People’s Choice Award at People’s Choice Award voting ends tonight!