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UNLV Wins Second Overall in Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013

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DesertSol also ties for third place in the engineering contest and was the top performing home by an American team in the prestigious international competition.
Campus News  |  Oct 12, 2013  |  By Megan Downs
Media Contact: Megan Downs, Office of Media Relations (702) 895-0898

The UNLV team won second place overall in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2013 contest today for its DesertSol home, which blended consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

"This was truly an honor and a privilege to be here. We did it!" said project manager Alexia Chen when she accepted the award. "This is an incredible and truly innovative team of architects, engineers, communicators, and more.

"We thank our mentors at the university and throughout the community who have helped us make it to this point. This was truly a life-changing experience and everything we got from this experience was incredible."

Team Austria, representing the Vienna University of Technology, won first place overall. Solar Decathlon judges said the contest was closer than ever, reflecting the quality of the competition. The points spread between Team Las Vegas and the first place winner was only five points.

UNLV did very well in several of the individual decathlon events:

  • No. 1 in market appeal category, which evaluated the livability, marketability, and constructability of each house and its appeal toward its target client.
  • No. 2 in communications, which evaluated the team's website, public exhibit materials, public tours and audiovisual presentations for clear and consistent messages, images and audience engagement.
  • No. 1 (tied) in hot water, which assesses if a home's water heating system can supply all the water needed for washing and bathing.
  • No. 3 (tied) in engineering, which evaluates the home for functionality, efficiency, innovation, reliability and documentation.
  • No. 7 in home entertainment, which assesses 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.
  • No. 4 in comfort zone, which tasks the team with keeping the home temperature and humidity steady, uniform, and comfortable.
  • No. 5 (tied) in the architecture, which judges the team on how solar and energy-efficient technologies are integrated seamlessly into the design.

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.

For more information on Team Las Vegas, visit the website, the Facebook page, or watch a video walkthrough.

The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.Crowd poses outside of DesertSol home.

The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.

The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.The UNLV Solar Decathlon team's home is called DesertSol.