The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition of 10 contests that challenge student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses. 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. (Photo Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition of 10 contests that challenge student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses. 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. (Photo Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

About House by Northwestern

House by Northwestern (HBN) is Northwestern University’s first-ever entry to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a competition that showcases innovative solar powered houses designed, built, and operated by collegiate teams from around the world.

Comprised of students from diverse disciplines including engineering, design, sciences, and the arts, the HBN team is designing and building a house that will blend technology, market potential, and design excellence with smart energy production and maximum efficiency. The result will be a sustainable home that is well-adapted for the extreme seasons of the Chicago climate and minimizes its impact on the surrounding environment. House by Northwestern will be 90% more energy efficient than the average home in our community. 

HBN team members sitting in the "living room" of the  scale version we sketched out in chalk this summer behind Tech.

HBN team members sitting in the "living room" of the  scale version we sketched out in chalk this summer behind Tech.

Our Team

The HBN team formed in April 2016 and since then has been hard at work designing floor plans, selecting the best solar panels, HVAC systems, and water conservation features for our home, then checking it all against building codes. We're also developing new web and social media content all the time. The design of House by Northwestern is student-driven, and students have the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders in architecture, engineering, and design.

Are you interested in architecture, sustainability, engineering, or the built environment? Looking for a project to get involved with this year? Check out the team page to meet our talented and hard-working team members and send us a note if you'd like to join us!

Photo courtesy DIRTT Environmental Solutions.

Photo courtesy DIRTT Environmental Solutions.



Yes, we're really building a house!

We'll spend the winter finalizing the designs for our home so that we can begin construction in Spring 2017. During Summer 2017 we'll have public tours and run tests of the house to ensure it will operate successfully at the Solar Decathlon. 

In September 2017, we'll load the house onto several trucks and ship it to Denver, CO for the competition. After the competition, we'll bring the house back to Evanston, where it will continue to be open for public tours as a demonstration of sustainable living in our local community.