Teams of students and faculty from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sacramento State designed and built two of the world’s most innovative and efficient solar powered homes.

The two teams were a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon in Irvine October 8-18. For the competition, they had to design and build a house that was powered only by solar energy.

Sacramento State and Cal Poly competed against only 12 other universities from across the country in the highly-selective competition.

The Department of Energy holds the event to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient designs and products by educating students and the public about the benefits. The competition also provides participating students with unique training that prepares them for the clean energy workforce.

For the CSU students, the real-world experience builds on the hands-on learning they are already receiving in engineering, design, architecture and communications. As they spend months fundraising, planning, designing, analyzing, and finally building and improving their homes, teams rely on expertise from many disciplines.

The homes are judged in 10 different areas, based on affordability, design and efficiency. This year, Cal Poly ranked third and Sacramento State was tenth overall.

This was Sacramento State’s first year in the Solar Decathlon. Cal Poly also finished third the only other time it competed in the event in 2005.