For Immediate Release: October 17, 2016

Santa Clara University wins inaugural SMUD Tiny House Competition

SMUD Tiny House Competition overall winner Santa Clara University's tiny house team accepts their award.

SCU's "rEvolve" house recorded the highest overall score across four categories

Santa Clara University has been named the champion of the inaugural SMUD Tiny House Competition and awarded the grand prize of $10,000, provided by partner sponsor Raley's Family of Fine Stores and other sponsors. The Tiny House Competition was held the week of Oct. 10 at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.

The first-place category winners—each of whom has been awarded $4,000—are:

  • First place, Architecture: Laney College
  • First place, Energy: Santa Clara University
  • First place, Home Life: University of California, Berkeley
  • First place, Communications: Santa Clara University

The winner of the "People's Choice" award and $1,000 is College of the Sequoias.

The winners of an additional 22 supplementary awards, each for $300, can be found at

Other schools that competed include California State University, Chico; California State University, Fresno; Cosumnes River College; Sacramento State University and San Jose City College.

The teams applied for the competition in the fall of 2014 and began working on their houses last year. Each team also created a Facebook page and a series of video updates documenting their progress.

The Tiny House Competition was modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, but the "tiny" houses are less than half the typical square footage of a home built for the decathlon and are built on wheels, making this competition accessible to a wider range of educational institutions.

The homes feature smart appliances, green building materials and techniques, renewable energy technologies and innovative designs scaled for small living. They were judged on criteria divided into four categories—architecture, energy efficiency, home life and communications.

Each school team will determine what happens with its tiny house now that the competition has concluded.

Examples include Santa Clara University, which is donating its house to Operation Freedom PAWS, California State University, Chico, which is donating its house to Habitat for Humanity, and College of the Sequoias, which has already sold its home to help pay for other school projects.

For a complete list of all the prizes and winners, the visitor's guide, links to the school's project websites and more, visit