Saturday, February 19, 2011
The Solar Decathlon is a challenge created by the U.S. Deparment of Energy where 20 collegiate teams design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. To win the competition a team has to blend affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The program started in 2002 and occurs biennially. It is considered one of the most prestigious solar competitions on the globe. It is open to the public free of charge and allows visitors to tour the houses for ideas that they can impliment in their own homes, learning about energy-saving features that can help them save money. It also educates students about clean energy and trains them to enter a clean-energy economy. The Solar Decathlon has been a successful program, involving 92 collegiate teams, instituting a multidisciplinary approach to designing and constructing the houses, and providing hundreds of thousands of house visits from the public.
This year the competing teams include Appalachian State University, Florida International University, Middlebury College, New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington, The Ohio State University, Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology, Purdue University, The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology, Team Belgium: Ghent University, Team Canada: University of Calgary, Team China: Tongji University, Team Florida: The University of South Florida, Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, and The University of Florida, Team Massachusetts: Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Team New Jersey: Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology, Team New York: The City College of New York, Tidewater Virginia: Old Dominion University and Hampton University, University of Hawaii, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, and The University of Tennessee.
If you want to learn more about the Solar Decathlon, including how to apply for your school or how to visit one of the projects, then check out the U.S. Department of Energy's website at http://www.solardecathlon.gov/.
Additionally, here is an article via the Mother Earth News website on the project: