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The Solar Decathlon is a competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy that takes place annually in either the United States or in other countries around the world.  Students work in teams to design and build homes powered by solar energy  that are also energy-efficient, inexpensive and architecturally attractive to consumers. The design goal is to create a home with the optimum blend of affordability, consumer appeal and excellence in each of ten competitive areas of design.

The Decathlon provides awareness about the cost advantages of clean energy products. Teams will demonstrate inexpensive houses that use energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems available today. Ambitious students are provided with a unique training experience that prepares them to enter the clean-energy workforce. Challenges include design for inclement weather, balance of received and used power, conforming to building codes, structural integrity, and livability.

Ninety-two collegiate teams must meet the requirements for designing and construction energy-efficient, solar-powered houses. There are 15,000 collegiate participants. Outreach to K-12 students for class tours, house visits for the public, and workshops for builders and industry will be conducted.

History of Solar Decathlon

The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002.  The competition has since occurred in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. The last event was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23–Oct. 2, 2011.  The next competition will be held in 2013 in Datong China and will include the Alfred-Guilin solar house.

Alfred Guilin Team Mission Statement

The mission is to provide the best education to students in three institutions from the United States and China. The approach is to share knowledge, expertise, experiences and resources in architectural designs, solar house construction, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science and marketing. After completion of this Solar Decathlon 2013 China project, students will become experts in their respective disciplines, appreciate inter-disciplinary education and understand the importance of cultural exchanges.

Future Plans

Following the competition, Guilin University of Technology has suggested keeping the house on GUT's campus for permanent display and used as a part of GUT's energy-saving building lab.