As the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim’s IKAROS House took the lead on Friday at the Solar Decathlon Europe after winning the Innovation contest, I was all but ready to write: damned those Germans and their efficiency. After all, a German team has triumphed at the Solar Decathlon for the past three years (in 2009, SurPLUShome from the Technische Universität Darmstadt walked away with top honors). Plus, Germany had an intimidating advantage at the first ever SD Europe in Madrid with not one but four teams entered in the competition (only Spain had more with five teams).


But in the end, it looks like Germany was only able to prevail on the soccer field this weekend because an American team (yep!) edged out Germany by one point and came in numero uno at Madrid's Villa Solar.


It was announced last night during SD Europe’s closing ceremonies that Virginia Tech, one of 17 international teams participating in the 10-day event, won for the Lumenhaus. Germany wins for the past three years on American turf and now an American team conquers in Europe! Love it!


But in all seriousness, a big congrats are due to all of the teams that gave it their best during this intense solar showdown in Spain. If you're unfamiliar with the Solar Decathlon, it's a competition that pits collegiate teams against each other to duke it out in 10 contests to see who can design and build the most attractive, livable, and energy-efficient solar-powered home.

Below is a run-down of who won each respective contest (note that Virginia Tech didn't place first in any):



1. Architecture (120 points): Finland, Helsinki University of Technology — Luuku House

2. Construction & Engineering (80 points): Germany,  Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences — home+

3. Solar Systems & Hot Water (80 points): Germany,  Fachhochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin — living EQUIA

4. Energy Balance (120 points): Germany, University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim — IKAROS House  

5. Comfort Conditions (120 points): Germany, University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim — IKAROS House  

6. Usage (120 points): Germany, University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim — IKAROS House 7. Communications and Social Media (80 points): U.S., University of Florida — RE:FOCUS 

8. Industrialization and Market Viability (80 points): Spain, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera — SML House Project

9. Innovation (80 points): Germany, Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences — home+

10: Sustainability (120 points): France,  Arts et Métiers Paris Tech — Napevomo


Internet Award: U.S., University of Florida — RE:FOCUS 

Public Choice Award: Spain, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera — SML House Project; Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia — FabLab House



And a look at the final standings (note that the highest host country Spain placed was ninth):


1. Virginia Tech: 812

2. University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim: 811

3. Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences: 808

4. Ecole National Supérieure d’architecture de Grenoble: 794

5. Helsinki University of Technology: 777

6. Bergische Universität Wuppertal: 773

7. Arts et Métiers Paris Tech: 763

8. University of Florida: 743

9. Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera: 737

10. Fachhochschule fur Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin: 729

11. Tongji University Shanghai: 683

12. Universidad de Sevilla: 678

13. Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña: 668

14. Universidad de Valladolid: 648

15. University of Nottingham: 641

16. Tianjin University: 585

17. Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña: 583



Again, congratulations to all 17 teams from seven countries and three continents for the great showing in Madrid. SD Europe, like the stateside Solar Decathlon, will be a biannual affair so you'll have to hang on until 2012. However, the 2011 teams that will be showing in Washington, D.C., have been announced and are ready to rumble! 



Event photos: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

A solar showdown in Spain: And the winner is ...
Germany proves to be a fierce contender at the Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid, but one of two American teams, Virginia Tech, walks away with the top prize.