The Solar Decathlon: Developing New Technologies

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Today we thought we’d share some information on a competition that exists to test out emerging green technologies (with emphasis on solar) in real life scenarios within the public’s view. Every two years, academic teams compete to design and build an efficient solar house of around 1000 sqft which is set up in Washington D.C.’s West Potomac Park for two weeks. During this time the houses are open to the public for viewing and for workshops. This year’s teams from the US, Canada, China, Belgium, and New Zealand had the challenge of making their homes affordable (the budget was $250,000). Some technologies in the homes included waterfalls to regulate humidity, self watering bio-walls, insulation of sheep wool, and thick walls and roofs. This is a link to the ArchDaily website that shows models and rendering for all the solar houses. Some of them are quite fascinating, each one very unique. The houses was designed and built in real life by students of each University—you can check out the designs in more detail on the Solar Decathlon website.

It’s important that the exploration and experimentation with new building technologies never stops, as this will lead to practical and hopefully affordable products. When it comes to innovation and design, our only true limitations are the bounds of our imaginations.