The Competition

The Solar Decathlon is hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. It joins 20 college and university teams in a competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house.

Design and construction is a two-year process that began in December 2007. For three weeks in October 2009, the houses will stand on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., competing in ten contests while open to the public for tours.

The 10 Solar Decathlon Contests for 2009 are composed of subjective and objective categories.

Subjective Contests

100 points
Market Viability
100 points
100 points
Lighting Design
75 points
75 points

Objective Contests

Comfort Zone
100 points
Hot Water
100 points
100 points
Home Entertainment
100 points
Net Metering
150 points
1000 points


Oct. 1-7
— Each team constructs house on the National Mall
Oct. 8-16
— Teams compete in 10 contests
Oct. 9-13
— Houses are open to the public for tours
Oct. 15-18
— Houses are open to the public for tours
Oct. 19-21
— Teams disassemble their houses

The ICON House will also be open for tours during the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Minnesota, in August/September 2009. Check back for details!

Participating Teams

Boston Architectural College, Boston, Massachusetts; and Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa
Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Rice University, Houston, Texas
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California; and California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California
Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic, and Mount Royal College; Calgary, Alberta, Canada
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario; Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario; and Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia