Solar Decathlon Team Starts Construction for International Competition

Posted: March 13, 2009

March 13, 2009
By Matthew Caracciolo

A student team at Ohio State’s College of Engineering has moved from the planning phase to construction in preparations to participate in an international, U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored competition to design, build and operate a fully solar-powered home.

The prestigious competition, called the Solar Decathlon, involves 20 university-led teams in the two-year contest, which culminates Oct. 9-18 when their homes will be shipped to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for display and final judging.

The team held a kickoff event in the Physical Activities and Education Services building Jan. 27, giving outsiders a first glimpse of the project’s advancement.

“We have received great feedback from guests, and it was great for the entire team to interact with our sponsors and community supporters,” says political science major Lucas Dixon, outreach lead for the team.

Construction on the house started this winter and will be completed in June, with final testing and preparations concluding in September. So far, the team has assembled the trailers that will be integrated into the house to transport it to Washington, D.C., and have laid down the sub-floor and radiant floor heating system. The first of three sections of the home have been framed.

Each team competing in the Solar Decathlon received $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy for the project, in which students must use energy-efficient technology and demonstrate that homes powered entirely by the sun do not have to sacrifice all the modern comforts and aesthetics to which Americans are accustomed.

Ohio State’s Solar Decathlon team includes more than 60 students from various departments of the College of Engineering and the Knowlton School of Architecture as well as from other departments, including political science, construction systems management and environmental and natural resources.

For more information about the Solar Decathlon, visit More details about Ohio State’s team are available at

Editors: Please see attached fact sheet for more details. For additional information, please contact Joan Wall, Editor, College of Engineering Communications, or 614-292-4064.

Solar Decathlon Fact Sheet
Event: The two-year Solar Decathlon culminates with a final display and competition open to the public at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Oct. 9-18.

Requirements: The Decathlon gets its name from the 10 specific areas of competition: architecture, engineering, market viability, communications, comfort, appliances, hot water, lighting, energy balance and transportation. In addition to producing enough electricity and hot water to perform all the functions of a home, from powering lights and electronics to cooking, washing clothes and dishes, each home must produce surplus energy sufficient to power an electric car.

Sponsors: U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory

History: The competition has been held four times and will conclude in 2015. This is Ohio State’s first entry in the decathlon.
Contact: Joan Slattery Wall, (614) 292-4064,

Category: Students