Creating an Economical Solar Decathlon House




Mountain, Jeffrey R.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Proceedings of the Zone 1 Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education


Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy has sponsored the Solar Decathlon competition in which collegiate teams design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are intended to be cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The Solar Decathlon is intended to educate students and the public about the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficient, solar powered homes. Unfortunately, due to the scoring rubrics for the competition, the affordability aspect of the competition is often given only superficial consideration. In the 2013 the Norwich University ΔT90 house officially won first place for the Affordability Contest of the 2013 Solar Decathlon, with an estimated cost of $168,385 for a 988 square foot house ($170 per square foot), while scoring 100% for the energy balance portion of the competition. The ΔT90 house maximizes comfort, efficiency, and spaciousness through two bedrooms, an office space, and an open living space for lounging, cooking, and gathering—offering a model for affordable and sustainable living. This paper will present design and construction details of Norwich University ΔT90 house which allowed it meet the project design objectives.



Solar Decathlon, Solar Energy, Solar Power, Solar Powered House


“Creating an Economical Solar Decathlon House,” Edwin R. Schmeckpeper, Matthew Lutz, Michael Puddicome, Jeffrey Mountain, and John Patterson, Proceedings of the Zone 1 Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education, Bridgeport, CT, April 3-5, 2014. (Winner of University of Bridgeport School of Engineering Award).