This past week, eleven teams of students designed, built and presented futuristic houses at the Solar Decathalon 2017. The competition took place in Denver, and though the challenge was simple it was by no means easy: create a super-efficient sun-powered building that seamlessly integrates green building technologies into its design. The winners of the highly-anticipated event were just announced this morning – and Team Switzerland’s NeighborHub took first place!

SwissTeam, 2017 Solar Decathalon, Innovation, green technology, U.S. Department of Energy, USA, Denver, Colorado, green building, design,

For the first time in history, the winners of the Solar Decathalon won prize money. First place received $300,000; second place won $225,000; third place took home $150,000; fourth place won $125,000 and fifth through eleventh places each received $100,000.

SwissTeam, 2017 Solar Decathalon, Innovation, green technology, U.S. Department of Energy, USA, Denver, Colorado, green building, design,

1st Place: NeighborHub by the Swiss Team

First place in the Solar Decathalon 2017 was awarded to the Swiss Team‘s NeighborHub. The NeighborHub isn’t a home at all – rather, it is a collaborative community space. The team designed the eco-friendly space to serve as an educational resource, specifically for suburban neighborhoods. At the NeighborHub, residents can learn about seven sustainable themes: renewable energy, water management, waste management, mobility, food, material choices, and biodiversity.

SwissTeam, 2017 Solar Decathalon, Innovation, green technology, U.S. Department of Energy, USA, Denver, Colorado, green building, design,

2nd Place: reACT by University of Maryland

The University of Maryland’s reACT House (Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology) took second place. It’s a smart, sustainable home that can adapt to different needs and environments. Not only is the self-sufficient home beautiful, it produces clean energy, clean water, and nutrient-rich foods — all the while automatically adapting to homeowners’ habits.

SwissTeam, 2017 Solar Decathalon, Innovation, green technology, U.S. Department of Energy, USA, Denver, Colorado, green building, design,

3rd Place: RISE by University of California, Berkeley, and University of Denver

Students from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Denver collaborated to develop RISE. The affordable and sustainable abode is designed for urban infill lots in Richmond CA, and it can be stacked and expanded like building blocks. The prefab solar is home is incredibly flexible, with a scalable size, customizable floor plans, and moveable walls.

SwissTeam, 2017 Solar Decathalon, Innovation, green technology, U.S. Department of Energy, USA, Denver, Colorado, green building, design,

4th Place: SILO by Missouri University of Science and Technology

Finally, fourth place was awarded to the Missouri University of Science and Technology for their SILO House (Smart Innovative Living Oasis). The light-filled home combines high-tech, energy-efficient technology with traditional farmhouse vernacular. Best of all, this futuristic house lets you control all systems remotely via a smartphone.

Related: 11 Solar-powered homes that show the future of architecture

Each team presented an incredible futuristic home that incorporates solar and energy-efficiency technologies. Congrats to all of this year’s teams, and we can’t wait for the return of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathalon in 2019.

+ Solar Decathalon 2017

+ Solar Decathlon Coverage on Inhabitat

Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat