Solar Homes Arrive at the Capital for the Solar Decathlon

September 27, 2007

Photo of the National Mall shows a long row of partially built houses with cranes and the Washington Monument in the background.

This photo from the 2005 Solar Decathlon provides a preview of what will be happening on the National Mall over the next week.
Credit: Richard King, DOE

Partially constructed solar homes designed and built by teams from 20 leading universities from across the world were expected to arrive early on the morning of October 3rd on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where DOE's third Solar Decathlon will be held from October 12th to 20th. The homes, which are powered and heated only with solar energy, will be judged in ten contests, including architecture, engineering, livability, lighting, cooking, comfort, water heating, appliances, and power generation for space heating and cooling. This year's competition also includes a new contest called "market viability," which will evaluate each home's market appeal, its ability to meet expectations of potential homeowners, and the cost effectiveness of its construction. DOE is the primary sponsor of the event, which is also sponsored and managed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Other title sponsors include the American Institute of Architects; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers; the National Association of Home Builders; the U.S. Green Building Council; BP; and Sprint. Check the latest news in the Solar Decathlon Daily Journal.

The Solar Decathlon brings together students from around the world, with teams from Canada, Spain, Germany, and across the United States, including Puerto Rico, coming to Washington, D.C., to compete. Fifteen of the teams hail from 13 states, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The homes, which have been in development for the past two years, arrived on the National Mall just after midnight this morning. The teams are now hurrying to reconstruct the homes and to place into commission their electrical, plumbing, hot water, and heating and cooling systems, an effort that will continue until the 11th.

The opening ceremony will be held on October 12th at 10 a.m., after which the event will be open to the public. The homes will be open for tours weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m to 5 p.m., except on Wednesday, October 17th, when the village is closed for competition purposes. Members of the press and the public are encouraged to participate in energy-efficient workshops, tour the houses, and explore educational exhibits. The winners of the individual contests are named through the event, culminating in the final awards ceremony on October 19th. And as the event approaches, the Solar Decathlon is still looking for hundreds of volunteers interested in being greeters, docents, registration volunteers, special event volunteers, and workshop assistants. See the DOE press release; the newly updated Solar Decathlon Web site, including a blog that features a daily journal from DOE's Richard King; the Solar Decathlon Volunteers page; and the competition program (PDF 4.9 MB). Download Adobe Reader.