The experimental homes averaged about 750 square feet, and cost between $200 and $800 thousand to build. Corporations at the cutting edge of solar technology donated solar power technology.
Germany's team won mainly because it blew away the completion in the critical "net metering" category. The Germans, who were defending their 2007 victory in the Solar Decathlon, had brought a secret weapon to Washington this year: thin film.
|1. ||Team Germany ||150.000 || |
|2. ||Illinois ||137.236 || |
|3. ||Team Ontario/BC ||109.911 || |
|4. ||Team Spain ||109.216 |
The Economist reported, ""the decathletes of Team Germany, who designed the winning house, bragged that its north façade was covered in panels that could convert even indirect sunlight into electricity." The "modernist box" had walls that were "covered in solar cells made with thin coatings of silicon and other materials in the place of expensive slices of crystal. Thin film, as this technology is known, is still less popular than crystalline cells and its move to the mainstream has been a year or two away for a decade. But its time may have come at last."
The winning house by Germany is the sleek black box on the right:
Final results for the architecture category:
|1. ||Team California ||98.000 || |
|2. ||Rice ||95.000 || |
|3. ||Virginia Tech ||94.000 || |
|4. ||Team Germany ||94.000 || |
|5. ||Team Ontario/BC ||91.000 |
Ranked by architecture scores, the above photos show 3rd-scoring Virginia Tech; 16h place Cornell in the foreground with 4th place Germany behind; and 5th place BC/Ontario.
Europe holds a Solar Decathlon on even-numbered years. Madrid will host the next Solar Decathlon in June 2010. Team Spain's entry in this year's decathlon, which ranked 14th overall, is shown in the top photo.
Interestingly, the last-place finisher in the expert judged-contest, University of Louisiana, actually won the "people's choice" public poll. Although the Louisiana entry fared poorly in many categories, it came first in the "market viability" category, and fared well in terms of comfort, home entertainment and appliances. Unique among the entries, this home featured "hurricane protection" sliding.
Update: a video from America.gov shows the winning entry from Germany. It seems that Germany's team from the Technische Universität Darmstadt adhered to something called the Passive House building standards. More on the TUD here.