Virginia Tech is one of only two U.S. universities invited to compete in the first Solar Decathlon Europe, which will take place in Madrid in June 2010.

The Solar Decathlon Madrid competition is modeled on the biennial U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. In these decathlons, universities compete to design and build a self-sufficient house using solar power as the only source of energy. The final phase of the U.S. competition takes place in the National Mall in Washington D.C., where the universities are judged in 10 categories.

The Virginia Tech team will enter the house they are developing for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in October 2009 under lead faculty Joseph Wheeler, associate professor of architecture, School of Architecture + Design; Robert Dunay, the T. A. Carter Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture + Design; and Robert Schubert, associate dean of research, College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

The Virginia Tech house is currently under construction in Blacksburg. Students from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and the Pamplin College of Business compose the student team.

Designed according to the concept of “Responsive Architecture,” the house will respond to climactic changes and user requirements utilizing the simplicity of an iPhone interface. Follow the house's progress on Facebook.

Twenty-one college and university teams from around the world will compete in Solar Decathlon Europe. In the 2005 competition, the Virginia Tech team won first place in four categories: Best Livability, Best Architecture, Best Day Lighting, and Best Electric Lighting, the American Institute of Architects President's Award for Best House, and fourth overall.