Village Insider: A Denver welcome, workshop schedules, and more

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017


Solar Decathlon Village Insider

August 2017   

Message from the Director

We’re another month closer to the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition, and we can only say that for one more month!

At the end of July, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock hosted a kickoff gathering to welcome the event to Denver. We were joined by a who’s who of Colorado’s sustainability leadership, including state representative and former decathlete Chris Kennedy, former senator and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, and representatives from DOE, NREL, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, and Thrive Home Builders. Their support sends a clear signal that our leadership is watching, listening, and excited about the next-generation of sustainable leaders.

Photo of a group of people.

August has already seen the Swiss team and the Netherlands team launch their houses for an overseas journey, while the U.S.-based teams are working on finishes, furniture shopping, and testing. Stay tuned to social media to get an early look at these houses in their final phase of development.

We will also be broadcasting two must-see live Facebook events next week. Our competition manager, Joe Simon, will discuss the upcoming competition and take questions from the public while perched atop the award-winning Research Support Facility’s solar-covered rooftop on Monday,
August 28. Then I’ll be joining the University of Maryland at a celebration of unity in sustainability with Tribal Leaders of the Nanticoke Indian Tribe and members of other Native American communities on August 29. Don’t miss a minute by setting your follower status to “See First” for Solar Decathlon on Facebook.

Building Bright Futures,
Linda Silverman

Banking on a Brighter Future

We are honored to announce that Wells Fargo is—again—committed to sponsoring Solar Decathlon. This community-based financial services company has developed a long history with the competition since first signing on as a sponsor in 2011. And the relationship is deeper than just a sponsorship. The company truly understands the value of a decathlete, having brought on past participants such as Jon Previtali from the University of Colorado 2005 team to hold the prominent position of Vice President of Environmental Finance.

Photo of a street sign, including Wells Fargo Way, with people walking around a Solar Decathlon house beyond it.

Wells Fargo is working to make change—not just in the financial sense. Their corporate sustainability commitments include donating more than $68.6 million over the last five years to organizations like ours that support clean technology, environmental education, and community resiliency. In addition, the company is purchasing renewable energy to power 100% of its operations, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45%, and increasing energy efficiency by 40%. That’s impressive even by our standards!

We are still looking for partners to stand side-by-side with Wells Fargo at Solar Decathlon 2017. If your company is interested in becoming a Solar Decathlon sponsor at any level, please visit our sponsor pages.

From the Blog

There Are No Glass Ceilings in this Solar Village
These SD2017 female team leaders are proving that they are some of the brightest rising stars in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, before they even graduate.

#SolarDecathlon Trending Now

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We need volunteers to guide village tours, mentor middle school groups, and assist the event management crews!

Workshop Schedules Announced

We’ve recently published a schedule of the educational workshops planned for Solar Decathlon 2017. This year’s event will include a one-day professional development workshop for educators on Saturday, October 7, as well as a continuing education (CEU) workshop for building professionals on Monday,
October 9, 2017. For anyone else with a love of learning, we will also host homeowner and consumer workshops that promise to open your mind to new ideas.

Time to Shine...
Across the Pond

Our Solar Decathlon Europe 2019 colleagues are now accepting team proposals for the upcoming event in Szentendre, Hungary. Set in a city where some walls still stand on 2,000-year-old foundations, the European event will emphasize building renovation and resource responsibility. The official submission deadline for the call for teams is October 27, 2017 with the results of the selection process expected in mid- December.

Homecoming for the MiSo House

It competed in Solar Decathlon 2005, went into storage at an airport for two years, then served as research hub and community education project for a decade. Now, the Michigan Solar House (MiSo) Project has left the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens to become a permanent home for Lisa and Matt Gunneson. As reported by inhabitat, the Gunneson family hired the Meadowlark Design + Build firm to help them settle into their new home. As it turns out, two members of the Meadowlark firm are former decathletes who worked on the house’s original design.

Photo of the exterior of the MiSo House.


The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design and build full-size, energy-efficient, solar-powered houses that blend design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency. The 2017 competition will be open to the public October 5–9 and 12–15 at the 61st & Peña Station on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail in Denver, Colorado. To learn more about the Solar Decathlon, please visit and follow us on social media.

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