Friday, October 16, 2009

Solar Decathlon shows that homes can run on the sun

October 15th, 2009

By Ashley Phillips
Green Right Now

Tomorrow’s leaders are already working towards a cleaner future — that could be as bright as the sun.

The Solar Decathlon, an international competition hosted by the US Department of Energy (DOE), is showcasing solar-powered home designs created by students from around the world.

Students selected to participate were given two years to design and build the prototype solar homes, which must be carbon neutral and completely powered by the sun. The projects, many costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, are on display at the National Mall in Washington through Sunday (Oct. 18).

Two thousand students came together to form 20 teams, which are competing to win prizes in several categories, such as best architecture or engineering or “comfort zone”.

The Solar Decathlon Proposal Review Committee, which is made up of engineers, scientist, and other experts from the DOE and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory, selected the teams that they thought had the ability to meet the strict structural and safety requirements. Once selected, each team was given $100,000 to get started. Projects often require more, so individual teams then raise any additional funds.

“The U.S. Department of Energy supports the Solar Decathlon to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. DOE also supports the event to help move solar energy technologies to the market place faster. The Solar Decathlon helps accelerate the research and development of energy-efficiency and energy production technologies,” said John Horst, spokesperson for the Department of Energy.

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