Solar Decathlon team back on campus
(Photo: U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu speaks with student team member Jordan Wallpe, left, as he demonstrates the inverter system showcased in Purdue University’s garage at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, D.C., Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon))
After eight days of competition, the Purdue INhome entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 took second place overall and in the People’s Choice award. (Read full coverage of the competition from beginning to end.)
The team is back home, and their entry is being rebuilt for the fourth and final time — this time for a family to use in the Chatham Square subdivision in Lafayette. Once construction is complete, the home will be open for tours before its first owners move in. The home will continue to be used for research as well.
After spending more than two years in planning and construction of their entry, the Purdue team spent three weeks in Washington, D.C., to take their energy efficiency message to the public. As one of 19 teams in the competition, Purdue helped give 375,000 tours to the general public, media, industry professionals and elected officials. More than 18,000 people toured the Purdue home, including Indiana Senator Richard Lugar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
Purdue placed high in several of the 10 competitions that make up the decathlon. They were one of seven teams to earn full points for energy balance, meaning they produced at least as much electricity as they consumed during the span of the competition. The INhome house produced seven kWh more than it needed; that extra electricity was fed back into the electricity grid.
More than 50 Purdue students and faculty were in Washington, D.C., for at least part of the competition. They came from six different colleges at Purdue, Ivy Tech Community College, Dublin Institute of Technology, and a partner school in Switzerland.
The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in. The 2011 teams and their houses represented a broad range of design solutions, geographic locations and climates, and were targeted toward urban, suburban and rural settings. The houses were intended for different housing markets, including lower-income, disaster relief, retirement, and single family.
“The Solar Decathlon’s impact is threefold,” said Richard King, director of the Solar Decathlon for the U.S. Department of Energy. “Over the last two years, the student competitors have received unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean energy workforce. Visitors and consumers learned firsthand that affordable, energy-efficient features in these innovative houses can help them save money today. And this year’s competition houses will become teaching tools for industry professionals and students around the world.”
The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The top three overall finishers of the Solar Decathlon 2011 were the University of Maryland, Purdue University, and New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington). The complete list of results and even more coverage of the event can be found at www.solardecathlon.gov.
The 10 competitions in the decathlon, and Purdue’s points for each:
- Energy Balance, 1st, 100 points
- Affordability, 2nd, 99.215 points
- Comfort Zone, 2nd, 98.529 points
- Hot Water, 3rd, 98.750 points
- Market Appeal, 5th, 91 points
- Engineering, 6th, 87 points
- Communications, 6th, 83 points
- Appliances, 6th, 97.333 points
- Home Entertainment, 7th, 96.563 points
- Architecture, 17th, 80 points