Created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon is an international competition open to universities and institutions of higher education worldwide, giving them an opportunity to compete in meeting a challenge: “Design and build a solar house that is energy independent”.

It is held biennially in the United States, in odd-numbered years, at the prestigious National Mall in Washington, D.C. Since 2010, the Solar Decathlon has also been organized in Europe in even-numbered years.

Each new competition is an opportunity to refine the requirements that the projects must meet.

The scientific goal of the Solar Decathlon is to improve the transmission of knowledge, research work and experimentation in the field of renewable energy, and notably solar energy.

This competition is als...

Created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon is an international competition open to universities and institutions of higher education worldwide, giving them an opportunity to compete in meeting a challenge: “Design and build a solar house that is energy independent”.

It is held biennially in the United States, in odd-numbered years, at the prestigious National Mall in Washington, D.C. Since 2010, the Solar Decathlon has also been organized in Europe in even-numbered years.

Each new competition is an opportunity to refine the requirements that the projects must meet.

The scientific goal of the Solar Decathlon is to improve the transmission of knowledge, research work and experimentation in the field of renewable energy, and notably solar energy.

This competition is also an opportunity to increase public awareness of the houses of tomorrow and to present the materials, products and technologies that will be used in building them.

After an open call for candidacies which includes the general rules of the competition, 20 teams are selected. The selection is made based on the project presented and only those teams presenting a house that meets the requirements laid down in the rules, which are the specifications for the competition, are accepted.

Once the teams have been selected, they have approximately 18 months to work on the engineering and architecture, and to develop the processes and materials to equip the solar house.

This work is based on the general rules of the competition, prepared and drawn up by a technical and scientific committee (engineers, architects, urban planners, researchers, etc.), which the schools will use to design and produce their houses in compliance with the technical specifications.

Beyond the competitive aspect, the interest of Solar Decathlon lies in creating synergy between the work carried out by universities, students, professors, researchers, construction professionals, the business world and industrialists who seek to develop research, innovation and understanding of renewable energy as applied to the building sector and to invent and test new processes and materials to equip the house of tomorrow.

AN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

Since its creation, Solar Decathlon has been open only to universities and institutions of higher education worldwide. This international dimension makes it possible to compare, assess and analyze how each participating team imagines, designs, adapts and builds an energy-independent housing unit for the solar energy available in their countries.

The houses proposed are not just concepts. They must be marketable in whole or in part and they must fit into the environment of their country of origin. The procedures invented and applied to the solar house must be transposable to industrial production.

Even though the candidate teams can only be universities or institutions of higher education, Solar Decathlon gives rise to partnerships and creates productive synergy between the teams and industrial groups specialized in the field of the environment, energy, innovative materials, energy suppliers, institutions of higher education and the world of research.

This exchange of ideas and expertise enables Solar Decathlon to contribute to the entire construction sector through the research and knowledge it develops, from the design phase to the completion phase, via the maintenance, upkeep and recycling phases.