Solar Decathlon May Move

Cindy Zimmerman

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is looking for a new location for Solar Decathlon 2013. DOE hopes to provide other communities with the opportunity to host the competition and share the economic and education and outreach benefits of the event.

Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has been held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it has successfully showcased energy-efficient housing and clean energy technologies. For Solar Decathlon 2013, DOE is seeking a new venue. The event will promote the outreach, education, and economic benefits of energy security, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

The winners of Solar Decathlon 2011 were announced last month with the University of Maryland getting first place honors for its WaterShed entry that proposes solutions to water and energy shortages. Purdue University took second place in the competition, and New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) received the third-place award. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Appalachian State University won the Decathlon 2011 People’s Choice Award for its Solar Homestead entry – a self-sustaining net zero-energy house inspired by the pioneer spirit of the early settlers to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Appalachian State also won second place in the Communications Contest and third place in the Architecture Contest.

The Solar Decathlon’s influence has expanded around the work in recent years, with international teams from Belgium, Canada, China, and New Zealand that bring different perspectives and add to the debate about how to design sustainable homes.

Government, Solar