James Montgomery, Associate Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
October 14, 2013 | 2 Comments
New Hampshire, USA -- The Solar Decathlon's mission, at its core, is to showcase one simple fact: that homes can be built today that are innovatively efficient from energy to water usage, in a variety of appealing and generally affordable designs. Judging by our own eyes, and the eyes of this year's judges and thousands of visitors over two weeks in CA, Irvine, this year's Solar Decathlon again accomplished its mission.
This year's 19 competing teams and their houses were as unique as their design inspirations, from the Canadian north to the southwestern deserts to the urban East Coast. We heard a lot of common themes: lots of radiant heating application, lots of reclaimed materials from wood accents to steel infrastructure, to living roofs and gardens and layouts that make these houses fit wherever they're designed to go. And so it's probably no surprise that in the end, the differences between the final scores, which have been narrowing since the first Solar Decathlon in 2002, were downright infinitesimal this year: six teams were within a 26-point spread, with fewer than five points separating the winner and second-place, and less than seven from first to third.
The following pages list who won in each category, and the overall winner — but of course all of this year's participants deserve praise for bringing their visions of energy-efficient homes to reality and inspiring us: