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Crowds at the winning building: visitors queuing at the entrance.
© Andreas Schmautz / TU Darmstadt
Successful title defence

Team from TU Darmstadt wins the Solar Decathlon

The team from the Technical University of Darmstadt took first place at the Solar Decathlon 2009 international competition to find the most attractive and energy-efficient building. The team was thus able to defend the title it had won in 2007. The competition to find the best solar house is organised by the US Department of Energy and takes place on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The team headed by architecture professor Manfred Hegger was the only German team and finished ahead of the 19 other teams, which were mostly from the USA but also included entrants from Canada and Spain. The University of Illinois took second place, while Team California finished third.

During months of planning and construction work, the two professors Manfred Hegger (Department of Architecture) and Thomas Hartkopf (Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology) along with eight members of the teaching staff and 24 students developed a building that fulfils the highest architectural, comfort and energy standards. First place for the “Comfort Zone” category, second place for “Hot Water” and two third places in “Architecture” and “Lighting Design” all tell their own story about the success of the entry. Ultimately decisive was the excellent result in the “Net Metering” category, which involved the measurement of the energy produced and consumed by the house.

Highly insulating exterior walls; controlled ventilation and heat recovery; improved energy supply with a heat pump; photovoltaic panels on the entire outer envelope; as well as a single-room design that provided generous amounts of space on a relatively small floor area – these features all characterised the monolithic-effect structure that, according to a report in the New York Times, even caused some fear among competitors with its electricity yield and its black shell covered with photovoltaic panels.

The Solar Decathlon competition

The Solar Decathlon is an international competition organised by the US Department of Energy which aims to design an energy-independent building for living in the year 2015. The Solar Decathalon saw 20 student teams from North American universities and from Madrid and Darmstadt competing against one another. Those interested can find further information on the competition and video presentations of the individual projects at www.solardecathlon.org.


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TU Darmstadt