Given the global energy and environmental situation, the European Union has been issuing directives with increasingly demanding requirements in term of the energy efficiency in buildings. The international competition of sustainable houses, Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE), is aligned with these European objectives. SDE houses are low energy solar buildings that must reach the near to zero energy houses' goal. In the 2012 edition, in order to emphasize its significance, the Energy Efficiency Contest was added. SDE houses' interior comfort, functioning and energy performance is monitored. The monitoring data can give an idea about the efficiency of the houses. However, a jury comprised by international experts is responsible for carrying out the houses energy efficiency evaluation. Passive strategies and houses services are analyzed. Additionally, the jury's assessment has been compared with the behavior of the houses during the monitoring period. Comparative studies make emphasis on the energy aspects, houses functioning and their interior comfort. Conclusions include thoughts related with the evaluation process, the results of the comparative studies and suggestions for the next competitions.