The University of Maryland’s WaterShed house is the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon. Purdue University’s INhome took second place, and New Zealand’s (Victoria University of Wellington) First Light house took third place.

Over 10 days, the teams competed in 10 contests judging affordability, appliances, architecture, comfort zone, communications, energy balance, engineering, home entertainment, hot water, and market appeal. Within these competitions, teams had to perform everyday tasks such as cooking, laundry, and washing dishes. Each team could score up to 100 points per competition via three paths: task completion (such as cooking), monitored performance (such as maintaining a specific indoor temperature range), and jury evaluation. The winner of the overall competition had the highest score of the total 1,000 points over the course of the Solar Decathlon.

The University of Maryland’s WaterShed house, which won the individual architecture contest, was inspired by the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. As previously reported, the nearly 900-square-foot home is made of two rectangular sheds that form a split butterfly roofline which maximizes solar-energy generation and collects rainwater along a central axis. The two sheds are connected by a third, smaller module that houses the bathroom. Rainwater collected from the roof via the central axis mixes with the house’s graywater from the shower, clothes washer, and dishwasher, in constructed wetlands located under the bathroom and along the decks. The house is intended for a couple to use as a work-live space and the team is currently seeking a buyer.

The final rankings of the 19 teams, along with their final scores, are:
1. University of Maryland, 951.151
2. Purdue University , 931,390
3. New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington), 919.058
4. Middlebury College, 914.809
5. The Ohio State University, 903.938
6. The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 899,490
7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 875.715
8. The University of Tennessee, 859.132
9. Team Massachusetts: Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, 856.351
10. Team Canada (University of Calgary), 836.423
11. Florida International University, 833.159
12. Appalachian State University, 832.499
13. Parsons the New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology, 828.816
14. Tidewater Virginia (Old Dominion University and Hampton University), 774.910
15. Team China (Tongii University), 765.471
16. Team Belgium (Ghent University), 709.843
17. Team New York (The City College of New York), 677.356
18. Team New Jersey (Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology), 669.352
19. Team Florida (The University of South Florida, Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, and The University of Florida), 619.006

The University of Hawaii was the 20th team selected to compete at the Solar Decathlon, but the team was unable to finance the project’s assembly in Washington, D.C., and pulled out of the competition before it opened on Sept. 23.

The Solar Decathlon was founded in 2002 and was also held in Washington, D.C., in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The next Solar Decathlon will be held in 2013 at a location and city to be determined by the DOE.