Austrian Team to Participate in 2013 DoE Solar Decathlon in California

bridges, vol. 33, May 2012 / Noteworthy Information

For the first time, an Austrian university team applied to participate in the biannual Solar Decathlon challenge – hosted by the US Department of Energy since 2002 – and their proposal quickly qualified in the highly competitive selection of contestants. The team under the leadership of the Vienna University of Technology will be one of 20 teams who will present their houses in the October 2013 competition in Orange County, California.

The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best combines affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Students spend almost two years creating houses to compete in the 10 contests of the Solar Decathlon.

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The 20 student teams selected from approximately 200 proposals submitted to participate in Solar Decathlon 2013 comprise nine returning and eleven new teams, including four international teams – one being the Austrian team. Universities represented in the 2013 competition are:

Competition houses will be open to the public free of charge for eight days: October 3-6 and 10-13, 2013. This is the first time that the event will be held outside of Washington, DC. The new site is Orange County Great Park, in Irvine, California, which was chosen as the 2013 site through a national competition. Great Park, a 1,347-acre site on the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, was selected from a pool of entrants primarily for its emphasis on sustainability and its easy access for visitors.

The Austrian team under the leadership of Prof. Karin Stieldorf is developing the competition house in collaboration with other Austrian universities, the Austrian Institute of Technology, IG Passivhaus, and partners from industry. Their participation in the Solar Decathlon challenge was made possible by financial support through the Austrian federal program Building of Tomorrow Plus, which is one of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology's research and technology programs, and thanks to sponsorship from Austrian industry partners.

To learn more about the Solar Decathlon, and for updates, visit DoE's competition Web site at: