Solar Decathlon 2017

“Team WashU will design the most visually appealing, comfortable, sustainable and energy-efficient home as a 2017 Solar Decathlon competitor.”

white-house-hiMission: Create a More Sustainable Future

Washington University in St. Louis is one of 14 collegiate teams selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017. The competition will be held in Denver, Colorado, in the fall of 2017.  

Team WashU is a diverse group of students, faculty and industry partners with expertise in architecture, engineering, design, innovative materials, and public health. Participants will design and build a 800-square foot, 100-percent solar-powered house to demonstrate sustainability and resilience. Students will see their innovative ideas evolve from initial concept to completed construction.

This will be Washington University’s first entry into the Solar Decathlon. Hongxi Yin, PhD, a certified expert on green community development and the site operations manager for the 2013 Solar Decathlon China, will lead the team. After the competition the house will be shipped back to Washington University for permanent installation on campus, south of Givens Hall.

The design will focus on adaptability, supporting a range of potential users while providing a highly flexible and dynamic building envelope. A test-bed for technological advances in architectural design and construction, our entry will be a showcase, market-ready home demonstrating market appeal, efficiency and climate resilience.

The ultimate goal is to demonstrate innovative designs and solutions that positively impact the building industry, develop the next generation of architects and engineers, and improve humanity’s connection with our planet.


UntitledHonxgi Yin (far left) is the project leader who is providing technical and programmatic direction. He is a LEED AP in neighborhood development and building operation maintenance. Prior to joining Washington University he served as Chief Technology Officer for Broad Homes Industrial Co., one of the largest precast concrete producers in China. His primary research and practice interests are design intelligence, data-enabled building industry integration, mass building production and customization, and whole building performance analysis. He serves as Director of the Steering Committee for Solar Decathlon China’s 2017 program.

Pablo Moyano (far right) is the project architect. He has more than 10 years of experience teaching design studios and seminars. Moyano is the recipient of the AIA medal for scholastic achievement and professional promise. Through his teaching, Moyano focuses primarily on housing design with a strong emphasis on self-sufficient and sustainable design that is simultaneously assessed at the scales of the city, the building and the user. His comprehensive research concrete as a sustainable building material and its diverse applications ranging from large scale buildings to pavers an urban furniture is reflected in his seminars and studios.

Solar Decathlon Background

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The purpose of the Solar Decathlon is to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products and designs. It educates students and the public about the money-saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean energy products and design solutions.

In the 2017 competition, 16 teams will compete in 10 contests, ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance. Teams will be competing for $2 million in prize money. Denver, Colorado, won the bid to host the Solar Decathlon competition in the fall of 2017.

The competition was launched in 2002 and is held every two years. Since its inception, the Solar Decathlon has positively influenced nearly 20,000 college students with interests in sustainability and building arts. The competition has expanded into Europe, China, Latin America and the Middle East, reaching an additional 12,500 students.