US Solar Decathlon kicks off

The US DoE’s Solar Decathlon kicks off today on the National Mall in Washington DC, with 20 teams from across the globe competing in 10 contests over 10 days.

September 22, 2011 – Today the biennial US Solar Decathlon kicks off in Washington DC. Twenty student collegiate teams from around the world are showcasing their efforts in designing, building, and operating houses powered by solar energy, holding to a range of judged criteria.

“The Solar Decathlon collegiate teams are showing how clean energy products and efficient building design can help families and businesses reduce energy use and save money,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a statement. “These collegiate teams are demonstrating the talent and ingenuity required to expand our nation’s clean energy economy and keep America competitive in the race to solve our global energy challenges.”

Fast facts about this year’s Solar Decathlon:

Nineteen university-led teams come from five countries and four continents: the US, Belgium, Canada, China, and New Zealand. This year’s teams (actually chosen nearly two years ago through a competitive process) represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, and geographic locations, climates and regions (i.e., urban, suburban and rural settings). They also target a broad range of target housing markets, from lower-income and disaster relief to retirement to single-family.

Ten contests over 10 days will gauge each house’s performance, livability, and affordability, spanning architecture and engineering, energy balance, “market appeal,” and use of typical daily tasks incorporating what one would find in a typical home, from cooking meals and doing laundry to home entertainment. This year a new category for “affordability” rewards teams whose houses are built with estimated cost at or under $250K.

– Official kickoff is Sept. 22 (today), with the winner declared on Saturday Oct. 1. Visitors can tour the Solar Village (for free) now through Oct. 2, on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park.

More photos are on the US DoE’s Solar Decathlon site, updated daily during the event, including some pre-show media of house construction. (Team New York’s house is shown below.)




(Source: US DoE Solar Decathlon)

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