The first four editions of the Solar Decathlon brought a remarkable temporary green village to the National Mall, as 20 collegiate teams erected and operated the solar-powered homes they had designed. But the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which has organized the competition since its founding in 2002, is seeking a new home for this fall’s event.
Why the move? The DOE said the National Park Service’s “historic effort underway to protect, improve, and restore the National Mall” had led it to seek out a new location, which it would announce soon.
Teams were in Orlando, Fla., for the International Builders’ Show (IBS) to debut new scale models of their Solar Decathlon houses when word of the dislocation got out. And according to Greenwire, they were none too pleased, with several noting that arrangements were well under way to be in Washington nine months down the road.
The National Association of Home Builders, sponsor of IBS, wasn’t happy either. Member Chip Dence, a past Solar Decathlon judge, fired off a letter to President Obama in the hope, he said, of getting the president to “straighten out his boys” at the departments of Energy and Interior, which oversees the Park Service.
New locations under consideration reportedly include other sites in the Washington, D.C., area as well as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and St. Louis.