Santa Clara University

SCU Today

Back to Blog

Team California Wins Third Place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon


SANTA CLARA, Calif. Oct. 16, 2009 – Team California is getting its day in the sun, after winning second place in engineering and third place overall at the U.S. Department of Energy's 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The students beat top universities such as Tufts University, Rice University, and Cornell University, making their home one of the most energy-efficient, beautiful, and comfortable solar-powered homes in the world. The judges described Team California's 800-square-foot house, called Refract House, as masterfully executed, exquisite, and well designed.
“We proved to the world today that you don't have to compromise comfort, style, and convenience to live in a green home,” said Allison Kopf, Team California's project manager and Santa Clara University student. “Our home is attractive, functional, and livable, and thousands of people who visited also agreed.”
“The last two years have been a remarkable journey for the 200 students who joined together to build a solar-powered house,” said Kyle Belcher, California College of the Arts student. “We're very proud of our home, our team, and the success we had in this competition.”
Students from Santa Clara University and the California College of the Arts make Team California. They finished in the top three in seven of the ten contests:
  • Architecture – 1st place
  • Communications – 1st place
  • Engineering – 2nd place
  • Appliances – 2nd place
  • Home Entertainment – 2nd place
  • Hot Water – 3rd place
  • Market Viability – 3rd place
  • Lighting Design – 6th place
  • Net metering – 12th place
  • Comfort Zone – 14th place
The students spent two years designing, engineering, and building the house. They then disassembled it, trucked it to Washington, D.C., and reassembled it on the National Mall. For the past eight days, the students have been showing the judges and the public their sleek home that blends aesthetics with performance. The students used materials and products from companies and individuals focused on sustainability. Homeowners in this house can easily monitor their energy and water consumption in real-time and even control the home from any where in the world on their iPhone.
The Solar Decathlon is held every two years featuring 20 college/university teams from around the world that compete by building an energy-efficient home that's 100 percent powered by the sun. This is the second time Santa Clara University competed in the Solar Decathlon. In 2007, SCU won third place.


Watch Team California's reaction to 3rd place win at the Solar Decathlon:
Watch Team California's reaction to 2nd place win in engineering:
Watch Team California's 1st place win in communications, which caught the students completely by surprise:
Watch Team California's reaction to 1st place win in architecture:     
Watch Team California's reaction to 3rd place win in market viability:
Watch Team California arriving in D.C. and reassembling their solar house:
Watch timelapse video of Team California building their solar house at Santa Clara University:
Media Contact:

Connie Kim Coutain | | 408-554-5126 office | 408-829-4836 cell



Printer-friendly format