Competition and Living Lab Platform

Completed (2018 - 2022)


The Solar Decathlon is a series of international competitions for student teams based on an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2000. In these competitions, universities from all over the world are challenged to design, build and operate solar-powered houses. In each competition, the final includes 10 contestants, as a ‘Decathlon’. Twelve competitions have been conducted worldwide up to 2016 gaining a great deal of experience, with new ones already being planned. However in contrast to the competitions in the US, which are centrally managed by DOE, the events in other places in the world required a new organization established for each competition. In many ways, in form, content and financially, the evolution of the existing competition formats benefits from knowledge exchange and a platform to ensure continuity of know-how, as does the creation of new competitions. The ‘Energy Endeavour’ initiative creates the opportunity to use the lessons learned from the Solar Decathlon events worldwide for its continuous, professional evolution, as well as extending the format with new competitions and a series of networking events under a common umbrella. EBC Annex 74 provides the institutional and organizational framework for the Energy Endeavour initiative. For the benefit of experts and the researcher community, city representatives, the construction and HVAC industry, energy policy makers, educators, and the general public.

The project objectives are:

  • establish an international collaboration platform for competitions in the buildings sector,
  • strengthen the dissemination activities of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes concerning buildings-related R&D,
  • expand the role of competitions as testing grounds for innovative methods, tools and systems, with strong links to the scientific community and academia,
  • raise public visibility of energy R&D policy working towards climate neutral habitation, and
  • provide case studies on the building and district levels.

The planned deliverables from this project are:  

  • a Web-based knowledge platform and portal,
  • a competition evolution and concept report, and a competition management guide,
  • educational material,
  • newsletters, and an alumni network.

Operating Agent

Prof. Karsten Voss
Faculty of Architecture & Civil Engineering
University Wuppertal
Building Physics & Technical Services
Pauluskirchstr. 7
42285 Wuppertal


Belgium, China, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America