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UNLV Adds Second Place Engineering Win to Solar Decathlon Tally; Finishes Eighth Overall

International competition wraps up today; Team Las Vegas places second in engineering contest, following earlier wins of first in innovation and second for architecture.
Campus News  |  Oct 14, 2017  |  By Cheryl Bella
Media Contact: Cheryl Bella, or 702-499-3930

Students on UNLV's Team Las Vegas spent two years planning, designing, and building a 990-square-foot solar home for the U.S. Department of Energy's international Solar Decathlon 2017 competition. (Radioactive Productions)

UNLV’s Team Las Vegas won second place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon's Engineering contest today for their Sinatra Living home, one of six juried contests taking place during the 10-day competition. Earlier in the week, the team took first place in the Innovation contest and second place in the Architecture contest. Overall, UNLV placed eighth out of a total of 11 national and international teams who competed.

The Solar Decathlon competition challenges collegiate teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses that combine market potential and design excellence with smart energy production and maximum efficiency. Teams start the planning process two years in advance, build and test their designs in their own cities, and then transport and rebuild them at the competition site. This year the competition was held in Denver, and included the first snow ever experienced during a Solar Decathlon Competition – earning this competition the nickname of Snowlar Decathalon.

Originally, 17 teams were selected to compete in the biennial competition. Due to the grueling nature of the competition and the time and resources required, six teams dropped out before the public competition began.

“The entire UNLV community is so proud of the dedication, persistence, and successes of Team Las Vegas – they embody everything our university, and our city, stand for,” said UNLV president Len Jessup. “This was truly a collaborative effort and a lifetime experience that no one involved will ever forget.”

Over the course of 24 months, more than 60 UNLV students from a variety of academic backgrounds including architecture, engineering, health sciences and hospitality, designed, planned and built the 990-square-foot home. Originally assembled on the Paradise campus of UNLV, the home was then transported by truck to the competition site in Colorado.

More than 100 individuals and companies made Sinatra Living possible including cash supporters, in-kind material donors and the project sponsors, Switch and NV Energy Foundation.

In addition to their first and second place wins in Innovation, Engineering and Architecture, Team Las Vegas took sixth in Market Potential, fifth in Communications, and ninth in Water. Non-juried, measured contests included Health and Comfort, Appliances, Home Life and Energy.

The Swiss Team, which included students and faculty from four different universities, took first place overall in the competition with their home, NeighborHub.

For more information on the 2017 Solar Decathlon Competition visit the Web site at

View the 2017 Solar Decathlon Wrap Up video.