The most energy efficient, solar-powered house competing in this year’s Solar Decathlon has been built by Austrian students.
The team from Vienna University of Technology has beaten its rivals from all over the world in the contest run by US Department of Energy.
"The Solar Decathlon is inspiring and training the next generation of clean energy architects, engineers and entrepreneurs, and showing that affordable, clean energy technologies can help homeowners save money and energy today," said Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of US Department of Energy, which has been running the competition since 2002.
All 19 houses competing in this year’s challenge produced more energy than they needed to cover their needs.
Over a ten-day period, the young engineers and architects have lived in their buildings, performing everyday tasks including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, while a panel of experts has been evaluating the houses based on several criteria.
Apart from energy efficiency, user-friendliness, design appeal and affordability played an important role in selecting the winner.
The Austrian team won in the Hot Water Contest and Communication contest, ending up third in the Engineering category. A team from the University of Nevada Las Vegas came second scoring only four points out of 1,000 less than the winner, followed tightly by a team from the Czech Republic.
Though organised by the US government, the Solar Decathlon is opened to teams from all over the world, providing a unique training opportunity to some 17,000 students to help them become the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in clean energy technology and efficient building design.
The competition also shows consumers how to save money and energy with affordable clean energy products that are available today.