Team Austria Wins U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon


Team Austria from the Vienna University of Technology has won the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2013 with its Living Inspired by Sustainable Innovation (LISI) house. The DOE says the winner of the Solar Decathlon is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The first-time U.S. competitor impressed juries with its LISI house, after winning first place in the Communications Contest, second place in Market Appeal and tying for third place in Engineering. Team Austria received first place in both the Hot Water and Energy Balance contests.

The LISI house incorporated a number of technologies, including the following:

  • Photovoltaic modules provide an annual surplus, which can be used to power electric bikes or vehicles;
  • A centralized utility room contains all the automated mechanical systems the house needs, including a photovoltaics monitor, ventilation, plumbing and hot water supply;
  • Two high-efficiency, air-water heat pumps supply cold and hot water for space heating and cooling, as well as for domestic hot water;
  • An energy-recovery ventilation unit acts as a heat and humidity exchanger between exhaust air and fresh intake air;
  • A multifunctional subfloor system regulates the indoor climate using water, air and active cubic capacity;
  • A heat-recovering shower tray reduces the energy demand for hot water by almost one-third; and
  • The automated house control hub, energy performance history and live data can be accessed through a tablet application.

According to Team Austria, the 8.62 kW system will yield approximately 13,000 kWh of electricity annually. The PV system consists of 13 Kioto Photovoltaics and 22 Holleis Lotus G2 polycrystalline silicon modules. The 13 Kioto modules are connected to a 3 kW Fronius inverter in one string. The 22 Holleis modules use power optimizers integrated into their junction boxes and are connected to a 5 kW SolarEdge single phase inverter in one string.

The University of Las Vegas Nevada took second place in the overall competition, and Czech Technical University from the Czech Republic received third place.

The Engineering Contest first-place winners are Queen's University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College, competing as Team Ontario. Second place in Engineering went to Czech Technical University. Three teams shared third place: Team Austria, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and University of Nevada Las Vegas.

The Solar Decathlon 2013 final scoring results can be found here.


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