Over the weekend U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the winners of the US Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, DC. The overall winner was the team from the University of Maryland, whose house proved to be the most cost-effective, the most energy-efficient, and the best-designed in the competition, earning a total of 951.151 points out of 1,000. Purdue University came in second place, with 913.390 points and Team New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) took third, with 919.058 points.

The results of the Market Appeal Contest were also announced on Saturday. This contest measures the houses’ livability and appeal within the housing market. In this area, Middlebury College’s entry took first, with a score of 95 points out of 100. The University of Maryland came in second with 94 points, and New Zealand came in third with 93 points. New Zealand’s score in this contest boosted their overall score and helped them move into the top three.

Image via University of Maryland

This year’s competition saw student teams from China, Belgium, Canada, and New Zealand, along with teams from the US. During the 10-day event, all teams partook in 10 contests designed to test the efficiency and performance of their houses, doing everyday activities like cooking, laundry and washing dishes.

The director of the Solar Decathlon for the US Department of Energy Richard King thanked the participating students, saying that they represented “the clean energy workforce of tomorrow…who helped bring this Solar Decathlon competition to life. Today’s announcement is the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work and determination. [They] have helped show that anyone can save money and energy in their own home starting right now.”

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