China’s first-ever Solar Decathlon is over – with an Australian team named the winner on August 12 and two other closely ranked competitors (teams in China and Sweden) placing second and third.
The Illawarra Flamehouse, entry of Australia’s Team UOW–University of Wollongong in conjunction with the TAFE Illawarra Institute — took the honors, with highest overall points from the multi-test competition, and “firsts” in the Architecture, Engineering, and Solar Application contests.
E-Concave from Team SCUT (South China University of Technology and Huazhong University of Science and Technology) and the round Halo House from Team Sweden (Chalmers University of Technology) both with scores nearly matching those of UOW, finished second and third in the overall standings.
What’s unique about Flamehouse ?
It is the first Living Building Challenge house ever in a Solar Decathlon Competition, which means its systems ensure zero net energy use, plus an array of green features. Moreover, the building is an actual 1960’s suburban tract home that was retrofitted by the team. Under the skilled hands of the UOW team, it went from banal to breathtaking. As one team leader puts it, ” This is how retrofitting can become reality.”
US Department of Energy’s Richard King, “father” of the Solar Decathlon– the US biennial competition started in 2005, then Europe and China, blogged throughout the Datong competition (See all of Richard’s blogs).
Says King, “[T] he caliber of Solar Decathlon competitors around the world is rising to new levels…. Solar Decathlon China is showing that no matter where the houses are designed and built, they can compete on a level playing field. That’s a sign the world is getting technologically smarter in the clean energy field.”
King also found time to comment on Team Sweden’s playful approach –“I loved that you had to put your shoes in a basket by the door before entering their house. Then, after touring the house in your socks, you would look for your shoes in a basket by the back door. The house, designed for college students to live in, was enjoyed by all.”
Neither King nor the Solar Decathlon is standing still.
The 2013 US Solar Decathlon takes places Oct 3-13 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, with 20 teams, including schools from the Czech Republic, Austria, Canada and US. Then there is the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe contest, planned for Versailles, France in June 2014!
READ/SEE AND LEARN MORE
Matt Hickman on Mother Nature Network did a fine job of reporting on wrap-up of the 10-day competition, which attracted over 300,000 visitors in public exhibition hours.
Web sites of the Top 3 Teams
Illawarra Flamehouse Team UOW with live blog and videos
Team Sweden Halo House (Sweden)
Green News Update’s August 5 story on early days at China’s Decathlon