WASHINGTON, D.C. - Germany's Technische Universität Darmstadt won the U.S. Department of Energy's 2007 Solar Decathlon competition. The Solar Decathlon, the third event of its kind, was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Twenty university teams from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, and Canada signed on to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home. Each team received a grant of $100,000 to design and build their 800-square-foot home.

The teams were judged in ten areas, ranging from architecture, livability, and comfort to how well the homes provided energy for heating and cooling, hot water, lighting, and appliances. Darmstadt earned 1024.85 points out of a possible 1,200, placing first in the architecture, lighting, and engineering contests and was one of seven teams to score a perfect 100 points in the energy balance contest. The University of Maryland and Santa Clara University placed second and third, respectively.

The German team's house featured passive heating and cooling systems. A system of oak louvers on three sides had solar cells imbedded into them, providing the home with both shade and power. "Our main concept is to produce and maintain energy," said Simon Gallner, a fourth-year Darmstadt student.

At the close of the competition, Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced that more than $44 million has been pledged to support the promotion of advanced solar and other clean energy technologies. "Promoting the early commercialization of solar and other energy efficient technologies will help secure America's clean energy future," Bodman said.

Solar Decathlon Individual Contest Winners:

  • Appliances -Texas A&M University
  • Architecture - Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Comfort Zone - The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Communications - The University of Maryland
  • Energy Balance - (Seven teams earned the maximum 100 points) Technische Universität Darmstadt, Santa Clara University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, University of Cincinnati, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Engineering - Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Getting Around - The University of Colorado
  • Hot Water - (Five teams earned the maximum 100 points) The University of Texas, Santa Clara University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Kansas/Kansas State, and Universidad de Puerto Rico.
  • Lighting - The University of Maryland
  • Market Viability - The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The next Solar Decathlon will be held in 2009 and the U.S. and Spain are collaborating to develop a Solar Decathlon Europe in 2010. For more information, visit http://www.solardecathlon.org/.

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