U.S. Department of Energy Events - Case Study

Executive Summary

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Semifinal Competition Event was an exciting opportunity for over 60 participating teams worldwide to engage in a friendly competition and present designs for the contest through Whova’s virtual platform. Prominent speakers from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory joined the event to speak about renewable energy and other industry topics. 

With the support of Whova’s many event management features, the organizers easily announced contest winners with in-app push notifications effortlessly connected attendees through the app’s gamification features.

About the Solar Decathlon Semifinal Competition Event

The U.S. Department of Energy, a part of the United States Government concerned with federal energy policy and safe handling of nuclear material, has run this event since 2002 to inspire and support the next generation of clean energy workers. Students join the competition to design high-performance, low-carbon buildings to help mitigate climate change. 

With Whova’s assistance, the organizers securely registered for the internal event while using in-app tools to easily communicate with attendees before, during, and after the event.






Tickets sold through Whova


  • Registering attendees in a secure platform 

Because many members of the U.S. government and other high-profile institutions were joining the event, the organizers needed a trustworthy platform to register attendees, protecting individual and event information.

  • Captivating the virtual audience

As a collaborative and friendly competition, attendees wanted to be able to ask questions during student presentations and communicate with speakers during other live presentations.

  • Streamlining communications with attendees

Managing communications and ensuring attendees don’t miss any important announcements during a virtual event can be challenging. The organizers needed a convenient way to remind attendees to vote in the competition, announce winners in real-time, or gather event feedback.

  • Encouraging engagement on the app

Attendees from all over the world had the chance to join and network with students they might be meeting for the first time at this virtual event. To make the most of this opportunity, the organizers wanted to provide online tools to encourage interactions between attendees.


  • Securely register attendees through Whova’s custom ticketing system

The event organizers kept event registration secure by utilizing Whova’s privacy features. By password protecting the registration page, only attendees given the password set by the organizers could access the page and purchase event tickets. The secure page ensured any information added by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organizers remained private to verified attendees only.

It was also easy to gather attendee information during this process; the organizers simply customized Whova’s pre-made question forms to obtain information on each attendee’s social event preferences, team logistics, and academic levels.

They also conveniently included photo release agreements, disclaimers, event etiquette agreements, and more for attendees to sign as they registered. If attendees needed to change an answer, Whova lets them edit their answers for up to 24 hours after submitting the registration forms. 

Solar Decathlon Semifinal Competition 2022 - Registration

The organizers password protected their registration page for added security

  • Increase audience participation with live Q&A  

Whova’s Q&A chats let attendees ask questions during livestreamed sessions for presenters to answer during the dedicated Q&A portion. Speakers could enable the Q&A for any sessions, letting attendees ask questions about career advice or competition results. 

The feature was a great way for attendees to communicate with speakers and see what other people asked during sessions. Attendees could like their favorite questions, and the most popular ones would move to the top of the list. Moderators could also pin questions to the top. 

  • Effortlessly manage communications through in-app announcements and live polls

It was easy for the organizers to link post-event feedback forms, post welcome messages, and ensure attendees did not forget to join live sessions in the app’s announcements feature. They could send the announcements to all or specific attendee categories.

All announcements remained in the Community Board under “Organizer Announcements”. If attendees needed to reach the organizers directly, they could post questions in the “Ask Organizers Anything” discussion topic. 

The organizers also created polls for attendees to answer before, during, and after the event. By customizing the types of questions and response forms, attendees could answer free-response questions about what they were excited about before the event started or rate their overall event experience once it was over. The organizers could view all the responses in lists or charts conveniently generated on the app to help them plan for future events. 

Solar Decathlon Semifinal Competition 2022 - Announcements

Attendees could find all organizer announcements or ask questions in the Community Board

  • Inspire attendee engagement through the Photo Contest

The app’s Photo Contest was a great way for attendees to share personal photos and get to know each other in a friendly competition. Attendees uploaded, liked, and commented on photos, and at the end of the event, the photo with the most likes was announced as the winner. Attendees could easily share their selfies and pet photos solely on the app or also share them to other social media accounts, generating buzz for the event.

Attendees could also engage with each other in the app’s Community Board, an online forum designed to improve networking opportunities. They posted many discussion topics about the competition and more, joined video meet-ups, and shared articles.

Solar Decathlon Semifinal Competition 2022 - Photo Contest

Attendees could see contest rules and current top photos 



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