As some of our customers invest in Solar many ask about other home projects they could do to become more green. A great resource we tell them about is to check out the U.S Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Checking out the web page or even attending a solar decathlon event will yield many innovative ideas that people can pick up on. The solar decathlon is actually a competition that is held between Universities to design and build solar powered homes. It is a competition that started in the United States back in 20002 but now many other competitions around the world are being hosted as well. That means many different cultural ideas come together to build a great foundation of knowledge to be shared in regards to green building and solar with examples of so many types of scenarios and specialized needs. Different Cities have taken part in hosting the event so pay attention because one may be hosted at a city near you soon. They are free for the public and you can tour the homes with guided tours by the students themselves.
The solar decathlon is held every two years because this gives students time to truly come up with amazing home designs that are all with a grand focus of being solar powered. All the homes get judged on a variety of 10 contests and at one location. The first one was held in Washington DC and the others have been held in Orange County, California and Denver, Colorado. The students design and then build the home to be set up for a month of tours. Judging happens between public tour days. All of these past homes are cataloged on the U.S department of energy's website and most of the teams have websites up and running that highlight the individual home entry as well. Once competition is over many of the homes have been used as visitor centers around the country or to even house veterans. They are meant to be a learning tool for the public but to also teach students priceless lessons of green building and solar energy.
Many aspects of the home get judged on but every thing adds up to the best overall score to determine the winner. The contests can range from different aspects but the main ones are smart energy use, market potential, innovation, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, occupant health and comfort, cost effective architectural and engineering design, and even communications. A video walk thru has been created for each home that the public can see as well as plenty of photo albums. Some of the homes may seem pretty spectacular in regards to architecture design but don't let that intimidate you. Many processes of the house that include automation systems and water retention ideas could rub of on you for your own home designs.
Here are a few photos listed below that are from the 2017 Solar Decathlon that was held in Denver, Colorado. Our very own team member took the photos and toured all the homes looking for ideas that we can further pass to our friends.
Source: US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon