Solar Decathlon: Green Tech Chatter

Have an idea for a solar-operated house? Interested in making your house more energy-efficient and getting to know about the latest solar technology? Then the Solar Decathalon might be the place for you! The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, coming up in September, is a program that challenges 20 teams of college students from around the world to come up with solar houses. The teams do everything from designing to construction, and the houses are judged on their cost- and energy-efficiency, as well as their attractiveness and aesthetic design. There’s also a European version of the competition, with the next event scheduled to take place in Madrid in 2012.

Since its introduction in 20o2, the competition has been held in 2005, 2007 and 2009. This year’s event will take place in the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C.,  from September 23 to October 2. It’s free and open to the public, including elementary and high-school students, and visitors are encouraged to tour the houses to learn about energy-saving practices and devices that can be used in their own homes and possibly inspire future contenders. Furthermore, the participating students gain a unique experience that prepares them for future careers in the alternative energy and green building sectors.

Solar Decathlon, Rice University

Image via Solar Decathalon

This week for Green Tech Chatter we’ve rounded up some news and information on the event, including brief profiles of some of the 20 participating teams. Check them out!

  • Get to know the teams participating this year, and read about their entries, and check out photos of some of 2009’s home designs.
  • The Baltimore Sun and WJLA report on “Watershed,” the University of Maryland’s 2011 entry. The University of Maryland was 2007’s Decathalon winner.
  • SmartPlanet has the scoop on the entry from Belgium’s Ghent University, the E-Cube.
  • NJ.com reports on “Team NJ,” made up of students from NJIT and Rutgers, and their 2011 entry.
  • The DOE’s Energy Blog discusses the entry idea from Team New York, made up of students from the City College of New York.
  • The Burlington Free Press reports on the only liberal arts college participating in the Decathalon, Middlebury College.
  • If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the next Solar Decathalon, the US Department of Energy is now accepting proposals for its 2013 competition. But hurry–the deadline is November, 2011.
  • Follow the Decathalon’s happenings on Twitter.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.