Architecture and Market Viability Awards Kick Off the 2009 Solar Decathlon Competitions


Image credit: krossbow/Flickr

With the houses assembled and the team dinners shared, the focus of the 2009 Solar Decathlon has switched to competition. While the goal of the event is to educate students and the public on the potential of solar building and whole-systems design, once the houses are up and running teams want to prove their designs are successful by winning contests.

Already, awards for architecture and market viability have been handed out.

Team California Wins for Architecture


Image credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

First place in the architecture category went to Team California, whose design blurred the line between indoor and outdoor living. By successfully "bringing the outdoors in," the team was able to create a space that felt much larger than the 850 square feet they were allotted and a structure that felt just as at home on the National Mall as it did in Santa Clara.

Kyle Belcher talks about the design of Team California's Refract House:

Though it was honored for it's design, the Refract House is not only notable for it's good looks. Allison Kopf talks about the unique building systems her team implemented in their house:

The competition in this category was stiff. From modern designs to rural aesthetics, the houses of the 2009 Solar Decathlon were, almost without exception, beautiful. Looking at the competition, Team California's achievement is impressive, and even more so considering the fact that they are the only undergraduate-led team in this year's Solar Decathlon.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Honored for Market Viability

Image credit: David DeFranza

The Cajun-inspired house designed by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was recognized for its market viability. Designed with sustainability and disaster survivability in mind, the prefab house represents a unique solution for a region that has become accustomed to plywood storm shutters and FEMA trailers.

Named "Beau Soleil," the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's home is market ready and designed to be a long-lasting and affordable solution for people living in hurricane regions of the United States.

W. Geoff Gjertson introduces Beau Soleil and explains some of its unique storm-resistant features:

For more from the 2009 Solar Decathlon, don't miss our slideshow, Solar Decathlon 2009 in Photos and Video.

Read more about the Solar Decathlon:
A Solar Village Pops Up on the National Mall
Solar Decathlon 2009 in Photos and Video (Slideshow)
Penn State Uses Ed Begley Jr. to Win Solar Decathlon
Solar Decathlon House Adopted by Texas Astronomical Observatory

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