Team Germany: Solar Decathlon Winner 2009

Team Germany‘s winning entry for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon.

Sustainability Is Skin Deep. Team Germany started with a “focus on the facade,” creating a house that is essentially a two-story cube shape that provides maximum dimensions and surface area, with a multi functional living area on the inside.

Described by the team as an aesthetic solar design, the house has a bed and other furniture and appliances that fold away or serve multiple purposes.

The team is relatively small with only 24 students, mostly architects. Team Germany finished first in Solar Decathlon 2007, and the 2009 team has relied on members of the 2007 team for guidance.

Credits: A special thanks to Stefano Paltera, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, and Technische Universität Darmstadt.


  • Property Type: Showcase 
  • Listing Type: Not For Sale 
  • Location: Darmstadt, Germany 

Energy Efficiency

  • Smart Meter Technology: Use of the net-metering connection to the electric utility grid.  
  • Window Insulation: Automated louver-covered windows block unwanted solar heat. 
  • Wall, Floor, Roof and Cavity Insulation: The facade is highly insulated, with custom-made vacuum insulation structural panels. There are phase-change materials in both drywalls (paraffin) and ceiling (salt hydrate) to maintain comfortable temperatures. 


  • Solar Photovoltaic: The surface of the cubed house was designed to maximize PV production and is almost totally covered with solar cells. An 11.1-kW photovoltaic (PV) system made of 40 single-crystal silicon panels on the roof and about 250 thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) panels on the sides that are expected to produce an incredible 200% of the energy needed by the house. The CIGS component is slightly less efficient than the silicon but will perform better in cloudy weather. 
  • Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps: A boiler integrated into the heat pump system that allows the system to provide domestic hot water as well as heating and cooling. 


  • Feed-in To National Grid: Use of the net-metering connection to the electric utility grid.  
  • Awards Received: Solar Decathlon Winner 2009