Solar Decathlon 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 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 blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The purpose of the Solar Decathlon is to educate student participants and the general public.

The isolation of early settlers to the Appalachian Mountains fostered a pioneer spirit in those who established self-sustaining living/working compounds on the frontier. Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead fused these values into a net-zero energy home, which remained true to these underlying principles by integrating renewable resources and innovative technology into a prototype that was adaptable, self-sufficient, rugged, affordable, and attractive.

Composed of a multi-disciplinary team that included graduate students studying appropriate technology, building science, renewable energy engineering, and business administration as well as undergraduate students studying appropriate technology, building science, interior design, industrial design, technical photography, communications, and sustainable development, Appalachian State University’s entry to the Solar Decathlon 2011 won the coveted People’s Choice Award. The team also finished first in the Hot Water contest, second place in the Communications contest, third place in the Architecture contest, third place in the Home Entertainment contest, and twelfth overall during the event hosted by the Department of Energy during the months of September and October on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

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