Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon photo
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu speaks with Jeffrey Tiller (left), Chair of the Technology and Environmental Design Department for Appalachian State University, and student team member David Lee (second from left) as he tours the Appalachian State University house at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.
Appalachian State University has won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 People’s Choice Award for its Solar Homestead. This award gives the public the opportunity to vote for its favorite house. This year, 92,538 votes were cast. The award was announced at a Victory Reception in the solar Village in West Potomac Park—the last official event of Solar Decathlon 2011.
“The team’s passion and enthusiasm were contagious,” said Terri Jones, Solar Decathlon Communications Contest official. “The People’s Choice Award is a popular vote, and I believe the Solar Homestead house and team appealed to people on many levels.”
The Solar Homestead is a self-sustaining net zero-energy house inspired by the pioneer spirit of the early settlers to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The isolation of early settlers to the Appalachian region fostered a pioneer spirit in those who established self-sustaining living/working compounds on the frontier. The Solar Homestead fuses these values into a highly energy-efficient home, which remains true to these underlying principles by integrating renewable resources and innovative technology into a prototype that is adaptable, self-sufficient, rugged, affordable, and attractive.
“The Solar Decathlon’s impact is threefold,” said Richard King, director of the Solar Decathlon for the U.S. Department of Energy. “Over the last two years, the student competitors have received unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean energy workforce. Visitors and consumers learned firsthand that affordable, energy-efficient features in these innovative houses can help them save money today. And this year’s competition houses will become teaching tools for industry professionals and students around the world.”
The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The top three overall finishers of the Solar Decathlon 2011 were the University of Maryland, Purdue University, and New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington).
In addition to the People’s Choice Award, Appalachian State also won second place in the Communications Contest and third place in the Architecture Contest.