Swiss Solar Decathlon House Scores a Perfect 100 in Engineering

The Swiss Team took first place in engineering with a perfect score of 100 possible points. For the Engineering Contest, each competing house was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers who determined which house best exemplifies excellence in innovation, system functionality, energy efficiency, system reliability, and documentation through their project manual and construction drawings.

Bob Dixon, presenting the award said, “The jury believes the first-place house in the Engineering Contest offers comprehensive performance modeling that sports clear graphs, detailed explanations and a variety of representations. The quality of the thermal envelope is exceptional and carefully calibrated to the target climate with very good resistance to heat flow, a solid focus on airtightness, and high-quality components such as triple-glazed windows and sliding doors.”


National Bioenergy Day is Wednesday, October 18

“Bioenergy” is use of any organic material, such as forest thinnings, residues, agricultural waste or urban wood waste, to generate heating, cooling and/or electricity. Many independent power producers across the United States and Canada produce electricity for the grid using bioenergy. Hospitals, college campuses, school districts and government buildings also use bioenergy for heat and electricity.

How to Balance the Solar Efficiency Equation

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s solar cell efficiencies chart depicts confirmed conversion efficiencies for research cells from 1976 to date, for several PV technologies. But as conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV modules approach peak efficiency, with the leap from lab to life—or from demonstration to mass production—occasionally taking over 30 years, the final question is: what is the additional watt class worth?