Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition challenging collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy efficient and attractive, inspiring thousands of students worldwide to enter the clean energy workforce. The Department of Energy (DOE) engaged Stratacomm to tell the story of the innovative student teams and help educate Americans about cost-effective ways homeowners can use clean energy.

Stratacomm developed and executed a strategic blend of media outreach, digital and social media tactics to build buzz around the Solar Decathlon. Keys to success included:

  • Telling the story through the students by featuring the student teams and their personalities, hard work and accomplishments
  • Visualizing the story with engaging pictures and videos of the people, houses and technologies, including daily photos, an online architectural gallery of homes and virtual tours
  • Positioning energy efficiency as an economic issue and demonstrating how clean energy products save consumers money
  • Highlighting a new generation of clean energy innovators and workers in America

The Solar Decathlon communication campaigns reached millions of Americans and others around the world. Results from the 2011 and 2013 competitions include:

Extensive Media Coverage

  • More than 600 million media impressions per competition, with over 2 billion total media impressions per competition
  • 2,200+ total media stories for each competition
  • Over 500 print articles including multiple stories in the Washington Post (17), USA Today (4), New York Times (2) and Los Angeles Times (6)
  • Broadcast coverage every year, including 500 television stories worldwide and 150 radio interviews

Social Media

  • 13,500 Facebook fans, including 5,000 new fans
  • 11,600 Twitter followers
  • 2.4 million overall image views on Flickr from 760 Solar Decathlon photos
  • Over 490,000 video views on YouTube
  • More than 3,500 uses of the custom-created event hashtag #SD2011 in 2011
  • Approximately 900 check-ins on Foursquare

Drive Foot Traffic to Where Houses Displayed

  • Over 350,000 house visits from the public in 2011, up from 307,000 visits in 2009, despite poor weather
  • Nearly 300 reporters onsite in Washington, D.C. for the 2011 event, and 225 media onsite in 2011 at a new location one hour south of Los Angeles
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