The UNLV Solar Decathlon team won first place today in the market appeal contest at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013, showing that a creative and energy-efficient home can be both cost-effective and attractive to consumers.
Market Appeal is one of 10 categories judged at the competition, which ends on Oct. 13. The market appeal contest evaluated the livability, marketability and constructability of each house and its appeal toward its target client.
UNLV impressed the jury with DesertSol, which is designed as a luxurious desert vacation retreat for a middle-aged, middle-to-upper-income active couple.
"The Market Appeal jurors loved the design of this house. The look, the feel, the energy blew us away," said Susan Aiello, founder and president of Interior Design Solutions and U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Market Appeal juror, in a news release from the Department of Energy. "Of all the houses we saw, we thought that DesertSol best met the needs and desires of its target market. I'd buy it!"
Overall, UNLV is currently ranked in the No. 2 spot out of 20 teams. Stanford is ranked No. 1.
In earlier contests, the team tied for No. 1 in hot water, which assesses if a home's water heating system can supply all the water needed for washing and bathing.
The team ranked No. 3 in home entertainment, which measures how well the home accommodates the pleasures of living such as sharing meals with friends and family, watching movies in a home theater and surfing the web.
DesertSol also ranked No. 4 in comfort zone, which tasks the team with keeping the home temperature and humidity steady, uniform and comfortable.
Four of the 10 awards have not yet been announced.
The grand prize award will be given Saturday morning in Irvine, Calif. at the Orange County Great Park.
The public can show its support for the team by voting in the People's Choice Award Competition, via the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon website. Voting is limited to one vote per email address and concludes at 11 a.m. Oct. 11. The People's Choice Award will be presented Oct. 12 at the Victory Celebration for the competition's overall winner.
The international competition educates the public about energy-saving residential designs. It requires collegiate teams to design, build and maintain a sustainable solar-powered home. This is a student-run project, with guidance and support from faculty members, industry mentors, and community supporters. After the competition, the DesertSol home will be installed at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.