The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is ready to see your innovative and creative building designs! Collegiate institutions may now apply for the 2021 Design Challenge. Applications are due by October 20, 2020. The 2021 Design Challenge Rules may be found in the newly released Solar Decathlon Competition Guide.
About the 2021 Design Challenge and 2023 Build Challenge
The upcoming Build and Design Challenges feature a set of 10 Contests, which are the foundation of this year’s Solar Decathlon competition.
Other noteworthy changes include:
- Design Challenge: The addition of the Retail Building Division, which expands the types of commercial buildings students can design.
- Build Challenge: Teams will construct and display their homes in their local communities, rather than transporting the structures to a central venue. While the homes will be built and evaluated locally, the teams will come together for an in-person event and final competition.
- Both Challenges: The new Embodied Environmental Impact Contest, which was first piloted in the 2020 Design Challenge, has been officially integrated into the competition. It evaluates the full lifecycle energy and environmental impacts of each competitor’s building, from cradle to grave, including impacts associated with selected materials, construction processes, and end-of-life reuse or disposal.
The 2021 Design Challenge teams, selected as Finalist Teams, will present their projects to a jury of experts on April 16–18, 2021, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Given the postponement of the 2020 Build Challenge, participating teams from the 2020 Building Challenge will also present their projects at this event.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The Design Challenge is a one-to-two-semester, design-only competition, while the Build Challenge is a multiyear design-build competition. The most successful teams will complement architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon continues to “push the envelope” on the design of high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while promoting student innovation, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities.
Additional details are on the Solar Decathlon website. The Department of Energy is excited to work with the next generation of building science professionals!