Solar Decathlon

Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon is an international competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered, energy-efficient homes that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence houses.

2015 Team: SURE HOUSE

Stevens Institute of Technology has been selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s prestigious Solar Decathlon 2015 for the third consecutive year. The Stevens team will compete against 19 schools in the international competition.

The “SURE HOUSE” prototype represents a new direction in coastal housing design and construction. Combining the best of academic and on-the-ground research in storm-resilient buildings, the SURE HOUSE will provide a safe, secure and comfortable home for a typical family of four.

2013 Team: Ecohabit

In the 2013 Solar Decathlon, competing against teams from the Czech Republic, Canada, Austria and dozens of American universities, Stevens’ net-zero energy smart house, “Ecohabit,” took second place in architecture and fourth place overall in the Solar Decathlon competition.

Ecohabit, is a “smart house” created by more than five dozen students with expertise in engineering, design, architecture and computer science. Ecohabit demonstrates that solar power is an affordable and reliable home energy source. Stevens will now donate Ecohabit to California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) for use as a zero-net energy veteran’s center on the CSUSM campus, which will serve nearly 900 students.

2011 Team: Empowerhouse

In 2011, Stevens students participated in U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon and took their project beyond the competition to the Washington D.C. neighborhood of Deanwood. They teamed with The New School and Habitat for Humanity, contributing engineering expertise that enabled the house to require up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling than the average residence.

After the project was exhibited on the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., the exhibition house journeyed to the Deanwood neighborhood of D.C., where it was joined with a sister structure under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity, who matched the cutting-edge residences with low-income families to provide affordable, and sustainable, homes. The Deanwood community was intimately involved with the project to ensure that the final product is not only sustainable, but a positive addition to the residents of the historic neighborhood.

The project was featured in numerous magazines and popular blogs for its unique approach to design and sustainability. Press coverage included Residential Architect, the Architects Newspaper, Metropolis Magazine, Urban Turf, Inhabitat, and the Washington Informer.

The active partnership of Stevens with The New School, Habitat for Humanity, and the Washington, D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development was unique in its combination of challenging design principles and strong social context.