Come on everybody, get your Solar Decathlon on. Starting tomorrow, September 23, 2011 through October 2, 2011 on the National Mall.
When it started back in 2002, the Solar Decathlon was slated as a biennial event where students from around the country could get together to showcase their talents for translating topics for energy efficiency to practical uses for everyday homeowners to see in the projects and take home and utilize in their own homes. Now, nearing a decade later, the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon brings in over twenty teams internationally to highlight much of the same things but on a global scale. Homeowners, builders and people who are just plain interested in energy efficiency are able to walk through the Solar Decathlon project houses on display on the National Mall from September 23 through October 2 to check out all of the amazing fetes that these folks have integrated to create homes that are hopefully going to win the competition for efficiency. Because did I mention, this is a competitive thing- hence, Decathlon…
Here are the rules, straight from the U.S. Department of Energy:
In the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, collegiate teams design and build energy-efficient houses powered by the sun. These teams spend almost two years creating houses to compete in the 10 contests of the Solar Decathlon. The winning team produces a house that:
- Is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in
- Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
- Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment
- Provides adequate hot water
- Produces as much or more energy than it consumes.
Know what is pretty cool? You think that preparing for a triathlon takes some time and training? The teams who create and build the Solar Decathlon homes take 2 year to plan and build these homes! Now that’s some prep-work. “Students test their houses to ensure optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The competition places demands on the buildings’ energy systems to maintain the house within a certain temperature range, to provide lighting, to run appliances, and much more. The houses generate energy with photovoltaic (also called solar electric) systems that produce electricity and with solar thermal systems for space heating and cooling and water heating.”
Did you know that our very own EarthCraft Virginia crew has been assisting the Team New York? Well, they are, and we’ll tell you more about the awesome things that went into this Solar Decathlon house soon!
More to come when we find out who wins the 2011 Solar Decathlon competition.