Winners Announced in DOE's Sun Wall Competition

November 15, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, joined by members of the American Institute of Architects, have announced the winner of the Department of Energy's Sun Wall National Design Competition. Four Chicago-area architects were chosen from the pool of 115 entries for a prize of $20,000. The winners are Martin Wolf, Mark Frisch, Devon Patterson and Duane Carter. Their design was selected by a jury of architects, design professionals and solar energy experts, who judged on the basis of aesthetics, energy production and cost-effectiveness. The winning entry combines electricity-generating photovoltaic panels with a solar thermal installation that will provide for the efficient heating of water for use in the building. This design also provides a shaded interior space, which allows a view of the high-tech solar wall from the backside.

The competition, which officially opened last March 2000, called for designs for the largest federal government building solar energy system in the world. Architects, building design professionals, engineers and energy technology companies were invited to design a technologically advanced and visually exciting solar system for the south-facing wall of the department's headquarters in Washington, DC. The wall, which is currently blank, spans a space of nearly two-thirds of an acre. The system to be built will generate as much as 200KW of electric power, enough energy for more than 60 homes. Funding of the winning design will be provided by a combination of public and private sources.

“The overwhelming response by top architects and solar design specialists to the Sun Wall design competition shows the tremendous interest within the US for solar energy utilization," said Secretary Richardson. “Once completed, the Sun Wall will not only be the largest solar system on a federal building, but will serve as an international landmark for the advancement of solar energy." He added, “By demonstrating on our own headquarters building that solar energy systems can be attractive as well as practical, we will show the real benefits of clean energy technologies available today."

The winning entry, as well as the second- and third-place entries, can be viewed online.