William Staffeld / AAP
The Solar Decathlon is an interdisciplinary, design-build competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in which 20 colleges and universities from around the world compete in 10 domestic- and energy-based contests. Cornell's third entry to the competition, the Silo House, is a bold evolution from the traditional Solar Decathlon submission. The Silo House consists of three cylindrical living spaces — living room, kitchen, bedroom — that surround an open rectilinear courtyard. The house is entirely powered by the sun. Forty photovoltaic panels provide 8kW of electricity, while 60 evacuated tubes and a custom skin-integrated solar thermal system supply domestic hot water and heat.
As the largest student project team on campus, the 2009 Cornell Solar Decathlon team was composed of more than 150 students from undergraduate and graduate colleges across campus. Students from architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, human ecology, business, communications, and the hotel school worked together to realize this project. The student-run team had the support of more than 20 Cornell faculty, staff, and alumni. The year 2009 marks Cornell's third consecutive appearance (the team placed second in 2005) in the Solar Decathlon competition, which has occurred biennially since 2002.
The Cornell house and its challengers were on display on the National Mall in Washington, DC, from October 9–18, 2009. The Cornell team came in seventh place in the overall standings. The team also displayed the house at the NY State Fair in Syracuse from August 27–September 7, 2009.
The competition at the National Mall boasted more than 100,000 visitors and received extensive media coverage from news agencies such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN.
Solar Decathlon in the News
The Washington Post
New York Ag Connection (Oct. 20, 2009)
Renewable Energy, World.com (Oct. 20, 2009)
Popular Mechanics (Oct. 14, 2009)
Jetson Green (Oct. 12, 2009)
The Huffington Post (Oct. 12, 2009)
Gizmag (Oct. 12, 2009)
Museum of the Earth (Oct. 12, 2009)
Gizmodo (Oct. 10, 2009)The Quest to Build an 'Ethically Responsible' House
The New York Times (Oct. 9, 2009)
Examiner.com (Oct. 8, 2009)
Syracuse.com (Oct. 8, 2009)
Scientific American (Oct. 8, 2009)
Photos: Solar homes take root at Solar Decathlon
CNET News (Oct. 7, 2009)
Smart Home (Sept. 1, 2009)
Cornell's Solar House
WHCU Morning Newswatch Podcasts (Aug. 27, 2009)
Syracuse.com (Aug. 24, 2009)
Solar Decathlon team finds a home at 'Joe's Inn' (Oct. 15, 2009)