U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that DOE’s third Solar Decathlon competition will be held October 12-20, 2007, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Solar Decathlon consists of twenty university teams – selected by DOE – competing on the National Mall to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy efficient solar-powered home. This year, teams have been selected from the United States, Puerto Rico, Germany, Spain, and Canada. The Solar Decathlon complements President Bush’s Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make the solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.
“I am eager to see these students demonstrate how we can better harness clean and renewable solar energy to transform the way we power our homes and businesses,” Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. “The technologies and approaches we will see on the National Mall are central to reaching the President’s goal of increasing our nation’s energy security by pushing forward revolutionary technologies that will allow us to become less reliant on imported sources of energy.”
For nine days, the National Mall will be transformed into a showcase for cutting-edge solar and building technologies. For the past two years, teams have been working on the design, research, and testing necessary to construct and power the homes. Homes will be shipped to Washington, DC, and beginning October 3, a “solar village” will take shape.
Beginning on October 12, teams will be judged in 10 areas encompassing architecture, engineering, livability, comfort, power generation for space heating and cooling, water heating, and powering lights and appliances. The Decathlon’s prototype solar homes are zero-energy, yield zero carbon, and will include the latest high-tech solutions and money-saving benefits to consumers, without sacrificing comfort, convenience, and aesthetics. Each house must also produce enough “extra” energy to power an electric car. An overall winner will be announced October 19.
In both 2002 and 2005, the Solar Decathlon drew more than 100,000 visitors to National Mall. Visitors can tour the homes daily (except Wednesday, October 17 when they are closed for competition purposes) to learn about design and construction techniques. Advanced technologies on display will also include: translucent walls used for day lighting; structural insulated panels for improved insulating value; solar heated floors; fiber optic cables attached to solar collectors to transmit light inside a house; and integrated solar photovoltaic power generation systems.
The colleges and universities competing in the 2007 Solar Decathlon are:
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Cornell University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Kansas State University
- Lawrence Technological University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- New York Institute of Technology
- Pennsylvania State University
- Santa Clara University
- Team Montréal (école de Technologie Supérieure, Université de Montréal, McGill University)
- Technische Universität Darmstadt
- Texas A&M University
- Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
- Universidad de Puerto Rico
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Colorado
- University of Illinois
- University of Maryland
- University of Missouri – Rolla
- University of Texas at Austin
The Solar Decathlon is sponsored by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), who manages the event. The American Institute of Architects, BP, Sprint, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and the National Association of Home Builders are title sponsors.