Innovation in sustainable solar-powered net-zero energy solar decathlon houses: A review and showcase

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Solar Decathlon is a showcase of cutting-edge residential buildings containing innovative solutions and technologies. This study reviewed, identified, and categorized technological innovations from past Solar Decathlon competitions. The review was based on publicly available data of the top five houses from each U.S. and international Solar Decathlon competition. The most prolific innovations identified were from building services systems and architectural design and construction. It was observed that most innovations within building services systems were in heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, and home automation, while architectural design and construction innovations focused on building adaptability, façade, structure, and building materials. It was found that although there is no fixed relationship between the numbers of innovations in the houses and their overall competition points, there is a high probability for an innovative house to be placed within the top five houses. This study also provides information about technological innovations within Solar Decathlon houses and offers an innovation classification scheme to guide Solar Decathletes to understand what innovations could be implemented in their future entries.

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