The US may have lost in soccer over the weekend, but we pulled out an incredible victory in the European Solar Decathlon in Madrid! Virginia Tech's elegant shape-shifting Lumenhaus received the grand prize for the most efficient solar home after ten days of competition against 16 other brilliant homes. Over the course of ten different contests, the Lumenhaus steadily pulled ahead, earning a total of 811 points out of 10,000. It was a tough battle, and it's likely that the Lumenhaus' win in the Architecture competition pulled them through -- they barely beat out Germany's IKAROS house by one point!
This the second time in one year that the team from Virginia Tech has competed with the Lumenhaus. Back at the US Solar Decathlon in October, the team finished 13th overall out of 20 teams with 704 points. In the ensuing months between October and May, the team tweaked and improved their overall design and even had a test run in Times Square before crossing the pond to Madrid. The design of the Lumenhaus is fantastic and was well received in DC as well as Madrid, taking home first place for architecture in a three-way tie and receiving a maximum of 120 points.
However overall, the Lumenhaus didn’t blow away their competitors in the other nine contests. Their well-roundedness is what brought home the win for Virginia Tech, although the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim was hot on their heels with their IKAROS House and only lost by a single point. Jurors decided that the architecture of Lumenhaus was stronger than the IKAROS House, which earned them enough points to clinch the win. The IKAROS house earned superior marks for electricity balance and the use of their solar system.
In the end however, Virgina Tech’s European Solar Decathlon win came in 100 points less than Team Germany, who won the US Comp. It seems the competitors in the Europe competition are slightly behind in terms of sophistication, engineering and architecture, but then again, this is the first time the competition has been held in Europe. Regardless, the event was a stunning success and over 190,000 people visited Villa Solar in Madrid over the past two weeks to tour the houses. Congrats to Virginia Tech and the Lumenhaus team along with all of the other competitors!