Solar Decathlon: California Takes Architecture, Louisiana-Lafayette Wins Market Viability

Team California took the early lead on Monday and Tuesday in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon by winning the Architectural contest with a score of 98 points and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s “Cajun-style” home, built to withstand dramatic weather, won Market Viability with a score of 97 points. Both contests were announced today and were worth a possible 100 points.

Architectural Juror Jonathan Knowles, from Rhode Island School of Design, said Team California’s Refract House creatied microclimates in a home that went well beyond expectations of competition rules and that the home broke out of the box in aesthetic appeal.

“Team California created a solar home with a beautiful design in every respect, incorporating a crystal-clear concept that successfully translates a regional architecture to Washington, D.C.,” Knowles said. “The interior and exterior appears as one.”

Rice University’s Zerow House claimed second place with 95 points and Team Germany and Virginia Tech tied for third place with 94 points in the Architecture contest. Rice University also impressed jurors to claim second place in Market Viability with their affordable row house, meant to be cost effective for low-to-middle income families in Houston’s Third Ward.

Team California and Iowa State tied for third place in the Market Viability contest with 92 points. Team California also won in the communications category on Tuesday.

For Architecture, the jury evaluated the homes on the following criteria:

  • Architectural elements – The house’s strength, suitability, appropriateness of building materials, scale and proportion of room and facade features, indoor and outdoor connections, composition, and connection of various home elements
  • Holistic design – Ease of entry into the house and circulation around the public and private areas, architectural strategy used to accommodate the technologies required to run the house, and generosity and sufficiency of space in the house
  • Inspiration – Surprises, unusual use of ordinary materials, or use of extraordinary materials

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s BeauSoleil Home win in the Market Viability category came after a jury evaluated the homes on the following criteria:

  • Livability – How well the home fits the specific needs of a targeted homeowner and whether it is a safe, comfortable, and convenient place to live
  • Buildability – Whether the home can be built efficiently at a cost-competitive price and constructed the way the team intended it to be built
  • Marketability – How well the house’s curb appeal, interior appeal, quality craftsmanship, as well as its sustainability features and integration of solar technology, offer potential homebuyers a good value

To see the full leaderboard, click here. Check back with for the rest of this week for video coverage and more information on the event’s results.

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