Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Solar Decathlon Competition

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2017 Solar Decathlon —  Oct. 5–15, Denver, CO

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 Director, Linda Silverman cuts the caution tape ribbon to officially begin assembly of the event at the 61st & Peña Station in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, September 23, 2017. (Credit: Deb Lastowka/U.S. Department of Energy).

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition for students to design, build, and operate a solar-powered house in 2 years' time. Contestants offer the public a great deal of insight about cost and energy efficient ways to improve everyday functions in their home. Not only does the winner's building have to be affordable and attractive, but it must also operate with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015. ASHRAE, a long-time sponsor of the event, is proud to be an association sponsor of the 2017 event. 

ASHRAE has seven student branches participating in the competition in Denver. For more information about the competition, including a full list of teams competing, please visit

2015 Winners: Stevens Institute of Technology

(Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

After competing in 10 contests, Stevens Institute of Technology’s SURE HOUSE won the U.S. Department of Energy 2015 Solar Decathlon based on performance, livability and affordability. Each team performed everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning to test their house’s energy efficiency. Out of 1,000 total points, Stevens Institute of Technology scored 950.685 points. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York took second place and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo came in third place. Click here to meet the teams.

The SURE HOUSE was intended to run as a low-energy, solar-powered, and storm-resilient home for coastal residents. This design includes an indoor-outdoor space to utilize in the summer season. Other features include a rugged photovoltaic system, raise feature and protective shell working against likely conditions of tropical storms. Learn more about the SURE HOUSE technology. Designed with innovation in mind, the SURE HOUSE includes two bedrooms and a flexible indoor-outdoor living space. Stevens built this home with New York and New Jersey middle-class families in mind. Therefore, the SURE HOUSE is planning to become the new community outreach center in Jersey Shore.


ASHRAE Sponsorship since 2005!

For the past decade ASHRAE has been a proud sponsor for the Solar Decathlon. Since 2005, ASHRAE has contributed at least $20,000 to each Decathlon. As a sponsor, ASHRAE continues to host the Reception Dinner, participate in the committees and serve as jurors, and lead workshop sessions in the Solar Decathlon.

If you're interested in being a judge/juror, or would like to learn about getting involved locally, contact