Evaluation Contests

In Greek, ‘deca’ means ten, and ‘athlon’ means contest. A Decathlon in sports is an athletic event comprising 10 activities, where athletes compete by excelling in all 10 activities. Solar Decathlon India takes from this idea and has 10 contest areas. Each contest is a star in its own right and given equal weightage. The teams should excel in each of the contests to succeed. These contests will help the teams master the art of creating integrated net-zero buildings.

Here are the 10 contests that participants will be evaluated for in the 2023-24 Challenge:

Energy Performance

In a net-zero energy building, the total renewable energy generated annually on site should be equal to or more than the total annual energy consumption of the building. The capability of the building systems to interact with the electricity grid, with on-site or stored power is also important. A whole building approach including strategies to reduce loads, integration of daylighting and passive systems, efficient electric lights, and appliances is needed. 

Water Performance

In a net-zero water building, the total water consumption is equal to or less than the sum of harvested rainwater used, recycled water used, and the treated wastewater returned to a source available to the public. Strategies for reducing water consumption and techniques for on-site water recycling and reuse need to be implemented. 

Embodied Carbon

Embodied carbon emissions largely result from the burning of fossil fuels in the mining, extraction, processing, manufacture, and transportation of building materials delivered to the building site. Strategies to reduce embodied carbon in five building systems: roofs, walls, floors, structure, and fenestration are needed.


This contest evaluates the building’s ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and the ability to maintain functionality in the face of stress or disturbance. Strategies that provide resilience against seismic, hydrometeorological as well as public health hazards are needed. These approaches should provide resilience during an event, after the event, and result in long-term resilience, in energy, water, comfort and food.


Teams are required to demonstrate rightsizing and, optimization of systems to control the initial cost of high-performance buildings. Design strategies for obtaining economies in construction such as simplifying and integrating building assemblies and using local materials should be considered. Constructability in terms of the availability of materials, technologies and labour is evaluated.

Engineering and Operations

This Contest evaluates the effective integration of high-performance engineering systems and understanding of building operation. Right-sizing and design of engineering systems help minimize waste of materials, equipment, and energy. Building systems, appliances, and features should be thoughtfully selected and integrated into the overall design.

Architectural Design

This Contest evaluates the architectural design for its creativity, integration of systems, and ability to deliver functionality and aesthetic appeal desired by the market or client. Cutting-edge energy-efficient building performance is better positioned to achieve market acceptance when integrated into architectural designs that meet the aesthetic, functional and operational expectations of the industry and consumers.


This contest evaluates application of innovative techniques, technologies, or business models through creative approaches to enhance performance in other contest areas. It requires the team to identify one specific problem in the region or the market and present one innovation as a solution to that problem. Teams should assess the readiness level of the technologies included in the solution.

Health and Wellbeing

This contest evaluates the building’s capability to provide thermal comfort and good indoor environmental quality, essential for ensuring occupant health and wellbeing. Passive design approaches can maximise annual comfort hours without the need for air-conditioning equipment. Teams should provide a comprehensive approach to indoor air quality that incorporates ventilation, filtration, dilution, and material selection strategies.

Value Proposition

The value proposition must describe and quantify the tangible and intangible benefits of their building solution. This should enable the Project Partner to understand why they should invest in the proposed solution, and the end users to understand why they should occupy the building.