Team Austria Wins 2013 Solar Decathlon

Joanna Schroeder

Team Austria has won the 2013 Solar Decathlon by building the most energy-efficient solar-powered house at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Team Austria was made up of students from the Vienna University of Technology, who won top honors in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) event by designing, building and operating the Team Austria 2013 Solar Decathlonmost cost-effective, energy efficient and attractive solar-powered house. In second place was the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and in third place was the Czech Republic comprised of students from the Czech Technical University.

The Solar Decathlon is inspiring and training the next generation of clean energy architects, engineers and entrepreneurs, and showing that affordable, clean energy technologies can help homeowners save money and energy today,” said DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Congratulations to the Solar Decathlon 2013 competitors – your hard work and creativity is helping to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

According to the DOE, the winning teams’ final scores were the closest they have ever been since the beginning of the Solar Decathlon competition. Team Austria earned 951.9 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by University of Nevada Las Vegas with 947.6 points, and Czech Republic with 945.1 points. Contributing to their overall win, Team Austria performed well in several of the individual contests, finishing first in the Communications Contest, second in Market Appeal, and tied for first in the Hot Water Contest. Every house in the 2013 competition produced more energy than it consumed.

Over the 10 days of competition, 19 collegiate teams from across the country and around the world competed in 10 contests that gauged each house’s performance, livability and affordability. The teams performed everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, that tested the energy efficiency of their houses. The winner of the overall competition best blended affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The results of the Engineering Contest also were announced with Team Ontario, comprised of students from Queen’s University, Carleton University and Algonquin College, taking first place by scoring 95 out of 100 possible points. Each competing house was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers who determined which house best exemplifies excellence in energy-efficiency savings, creative design innovations, and the functionality and reliability of each system.

Engineering Juror Kent Peterson, chief operating officer and chief engineer at P2S Engineering, said, “Team Ontario demonstrated a complete understanding of building science, a very good building envelope for the target climate, and excellent integration of passive and active strategies.”

Czech Republic claimed second place in the Engineering Contest with 94 points, and University of Nevada Las Vegas, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Team Austria all tied for third place with 93 points each.

Education, energy efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar