Biennially since 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has held the solar decathlon, a competition between 20 university teams from around the world that design, construct and operate homes that are affordable, energy efficient and attractive.
If you haven't been following the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon since its first run in 2002, you've been missing out. The Solar Decathlon invites teams of college students from around the world to submit ideas for a net-zero energy house of approximately 800 square feet. 20 of these teams are then selected to fully plan, design, and build their homes.
In 2007, Team Germany's entry in the Solar Decathlon stole the show: fancy retractable floors, house-covering louvred panels that could be closed or open at a light touch to control air and light flow and just happened to be covered with thousands of tiny solar cells, a sleek but somehow organic design. And they've done it again. For the second Decathlon in a row, Germany is going home with the gold.
For those of you near the nation's capital, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathalon deserves a visit. The biennial event -- which this year runs through October 18 -- challenges 20 college teams from around the world to design, build and operate the best solar-powered house.
The Solar Decathlon has been well underway since Friday, and it’s good news so far for Team California, who is currently in the lead. (You can read Margaret’s short and sweet intro to Solar’s biggest competition here.) The biannual contest, which was designed to induce undergraduates to take a greater interest in a science or technology career, encourage clean energy development and raise public awareness of energy efficiency, runs for a week and a half and opens the students’ two years’ of work up to public scrutiny.
Attention, solar home aficionados! The Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon is mere weeks away, beginning October 8th on the Mall in Washington, DC. If you're not familiar with it, the Solar Decathlon is a design competition for teams of university students world-wide. Each competition cycle is two years: in the first year, teams submit their initial ideas for a solar-powered home (net-zero energy consumption is the goal, though not the mandate). Of the applicants, 20 are selected to actually build their homes in the second year and transport them whole to Washington for a three-week showcase and contest.