When a team of Santa Clara students embarked on the Solar Decathlon competition just over 18 months ago, they knew they had a long way to go—the longest, in fact, of any university stateside, since SCU was the only school west of the Rockies to compete. But as Richard King, head of the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored competition, assessed when he visited SCU in August, this team just might have some surprises in store for the veteran schools in the contest.
What kind of surprises? A very big one indeed: Santa Clara outscored every other U.S. team save one, beating out the likes of MIT and Cornell, to finish third in the international competition. The judging itself took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., over one week in October, with final results announced Oct. 19. The “solar village” of entries from 20 universities from the U.S. and internationally drew some 200,000 visitors—as well as the attention of Fortune 500 companies interested in how the students designed and built houses meant to be energy self-sufficient, attractive, and affordable.
Each entry was judged on 10 different criteria, and the competition included a battery of scored tests, adding up to a total of 1,200 possible points. The German Technishsche Universitat Darmstadt captured first place with 1,024 points. The University of Maryland took second with 999 points. Santa Clara scored 979 points, finishing first in two categories, second in three categories, and in the top 10 of all categories save “Architecture.”
We’ll have details in the next issue of SCM. In the meantime, check out the SCU Solar Decathlon site and other news stories. —SBS & DA