U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Solar Decathlon's "Solar Village" Takes Shape on National Mall
October 3, 2005
Eighteen teams of students are currently building a "solar village" on
the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in preparation for the 2005
Solar Decathlon. Just after midnight on September 29th, solar powered
and highly efficient houses began arriving from across the country and
as far away as Spain, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Since then, the
National Mall has seen a flurry of construction in preparation for
the opening ceremonies on October 6th. The competition starts October 7th and runs through October 17th, and the homes will be open to the public every
day except for October 12th.
The 18 university teams will compete to determine who has built the
house that best blends aesthetics and modern conveniences with maximum
energy production and optimal energy efficiency. Over eight days, the
teams will be judged in 10 areas encompassing architecture,
livability, and comfort, as well as energy production for space
heating and cooling, water heating, and powering lights and
appliances. Each solar house must also produce enough extra power to
charge up an electric car.
The University of Michigan team assembles their futuristic solar home on October 2nd.
Credit: Richard King, DOE
Among the innovations at work this year are a structural insulated
panel system made of cellulose waste and soy foam insulation, employed
by the University of Colorado; movable interior walls in the
University of Madrid's house; and hurricane-proof features in the home
from the Florida International University. Perhaps most unique is the
New York Institute of Technology's home, which generates hydrogen from
solar power, stores it for later use, then uses a fuel cell to convert
the hydrogen into heat and electricity. See the DOE press release.
DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is the primary
sponsor of the Solar Decathlon, along with its National Renewable
Energy Laboratory, the American Institute of Architects, the National
Association of Home Builders, BP, the DIY Network, and Sprint Nextel.
During the competition, scores and standings will be posted daily.
Until then, you can keep track of the Solar Village's progress through
the daily journal of DOE's Richard King, posted on the Solar Decathlon Web site.