The University of California, Davis is participating in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2017 competition in Denver, Colorado. The UC Davis Team (the Blue Mustangs) built Our H2Ouse—an original design that addresses the severe drought in California by cutting the water use in a typical residence in half, while maintaining the same level of comfort at an affordable price point. Click here to see a video about their house.

The Blue Mustangs are currently in Denver preparing for the competition. Beginning on October 5, 2017, UC Davis will compete alongside 11 different teams in 10 contests that evaluate cost-effective design; innovation balanced with market potential; water and energy efficiency; energy production and time-of-use energy; and communications strategies. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency

This site provides updates on the Blue Mustangs' progress. 

Click here to see live video feed at the Solar Decathlon.

October 9th

Snow blanketed the Solar Decathlon 2017 Village. The village closed today due to the snow, but the teams still competed. Here is a picture of team member Geoffrey Mangalam walking in the snow.

October 7th

The competition and public tours continued today. In addition, the Department of Energy conducted a great Facebook Live Tour of Our H2Ouse. 

October 5th

The competition and public event officially opened today. The team hosted visitors and participated in the opening ceremony. One of the visitors was Craig Metz, a sponsor of Our H2Ouse. In the evening, team members participated in a game night and dinner as part of the Home Life Contest. They enjoyed gourmet food by the Daytona Beach team, which included green curry shrimp salad, fried plantain chips and dip, and three different kinds of fresh fruit milkshakes.

October 4th

They did it! The UC Davis Solar Decathlon 2017 entry is in its final finished form and ready for presentation to the public. The team spent the day giving tours to VIP guests and media. People loved many different features of the house including the blue cabinets, the tree-trunk cutaway, and the hanging bicycle wheels. This made the team incredibly optimistic about the success of their future presentations to judges, and instilled in them a great sense of pride and achievement. Congratulations and Good Luck!

October 3rd

The team continued trouble shooting on the solar system, finished cleaning the house and prepared for tours by media and VIPs. Additionally, the team tested all systems including the radiant/HRV HVAC system, as well as mock tests of the dryer, shower and stove range. Everyone is excited and nervous to begin the competition.

October 2nd

Today the solar system was finalized and tested for the complete operation. Unfortunately, issues prevented the system from being functional and so the team began trouble shooting with  SunMetrics employees in California. On a positive note, the interior designers finalized staging, the final wood accents were installed, and the team received delivery of their electric car.

October 1st

Today the team had the pleasure of working with SunMetrics employees to prepare the home's solar system for operation. Meanwhile, other students accepted delivery of the drought tolerant plants for the homes landscape. Interior designers continued staging furniture and also began the long cleaning process that involved vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting of almost every single surface in the home.

September 30th

The team prepared for the first round of inspections by the competition organizers. Work continued on the interior as drought wood finishes were installed in the main living room, and interior designers began staging furniture.

September 29, 2017

The team finished the side skirting of the house using thin canvas. Students also completed leveling the ramp, which was very challenging as the grade of the land that the competition is on varies a lot. On the interior, students began to assemble the droughtwood accordion table and touch up paint all the walls, door sills, etc. Additionally, the team passed a big milestone by getting their power turned on as well as getting their potable water tanks filled. Everyone is getting very excited for the competition phase to begin!

September 28, 2017

The team continued working on the exterior while other groups of students prepared more "drought wood" (wood from trees killed in the last California drought) for installation in the interior. This wood is being used as rustic accents around the home, and is a sustainable material as it is from trees that were naturally felled. Other students worked with staff and faculty to complete the controls system for the home's radiant system. On the exterior, students began installing the south side shade canopy as well as installing canvas skirting and deck side face pieces around the home's trailer foundation. Lastly, and perhaps most exciting, was the fact that Raven Window employees came to replace the standard glass in our Jeld-Wen windows with their special thermochromic, solar-intuitive window glazings that automatically tint in direct sunlight.

September 27, 2017

UC Davis got their solar panels up and mounted on the roof in preparation for their connection tomorrow. In addition, lots of exterior work continued including setting hand rails and leveling the entry and exit ramp to make our tour route safe and ADA compliant. Another big milestone for the team was beginning the filling of their potable water tanks, an event that will allow us to begin testing many of the house's water-using capabilities such as the priming and running of all pumps and the operation of the home's radiant heating and cooling system.

For additional photos, please see our flickr album.

For more information, please visit:

UC Davis Solar Decathlon website

UC Davis Solar Decathlon facebook