Solar Decathlon 2013 – Orange County Great Park

Flux Home University of Southern California USC

CLICK HERE   See the Flux House in Ojai **** an internationally, renowned, architect moves the 2013 Solar Decathlon Flux Home to Ojai, CA

The Solar Decathlon  is a very cool event – a college competition to build solar homes.  Usually in Washington, DC – last year the 2013 Solar Decathlon exhibit was in Orange County, California for the first time.  Although I follow the event every year – this year I went to see the houses.

They say architects are at their best when they are old – experienced.  This truth exists but there is something really fun, fresh and appealing about these college students taking on the task of building a home – an efficient and new style of home.

  • lots of shed roofs
  • passive solar design using shading
  • open and flexible plans
  • solar systems


The Decathlon was held at the former El Toro  Marine Air Base – which is being transformed into “Great Park” – at 4700 acre real estate development – CLICK HERE for more info

A runway of cool houses …

Arizona State/New Mexico

lots of shading that allows air flow

Czech Republic

Crazy Food Trucks are everywhere these days


The Phoenix House (Team Kentuckiana)

InSite – Middlebury College

Lots of shading – a solar chimney – 965 sf

Project Model



SCIARC – Southern California Institute of Architecture


Team Austria – The Winner !!!


Team Capitol DC

This screen is very interesting … as it heats up – it closes by itself without using electricity


CLICK HERE to see more on the 2013 Decathlon

CLICK HERE to see more on the 2011 Decathlon

Solar Decathlon Contests
Like the Olympic decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests. These contests are designed to gauge how well the houses perform and how livable and affordable they are. Each contest is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a competition total of 1,000 points.

Teams can earn points three ways:

Task completion
Teams complete household tasks such as cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry.

Monitored performance
Team houses perform to specified criteria, such as maintaining a comfortable (71°–76°F) indoor temperature range.

Jury evaluation
Jurors who are experts in their field (such as architecture, engineering, and communications) award points for features that cannot be measured (such as aesthetics and design inspiration).

Contests based on task completion or monitored performance are called measured contests; contests based on jury evaluation are call juried contests.

Architecture Contest (juried)
Market Appeal Contest (juried)
Engineering Contest (juried)
Communications Contest (juried)
Affordability Contest (juried)
Comfort Zone Contest (measured)
Appliances Contest (measured)
Home Life Contest (measured)
Commuting Contest (measured)
Energy Balance Contest (measured).
For complete information, see the Solar Decathlon 2015 rules.