An assembly of 20 solar homes on the National Mall in
Washington, D.C., is approaching completion, as the 2009 Solar
Decathlon prepares to open, free to the public, on October
GLOBE-Net (October 6, 2009) The Solar Decathlon is
an international event in which DOE challenges university teams to
design and build homes that run entirely on solar energy. The teams
ship their partially constructed homes to the National Mall,
assemble them, and then compete in ten contests.
These challenges include architecture, engineering, market
viability, communications, comfort, appliances, water heating,
lighting, home entertainment, as well as a special two-part net
metering competition, during which teams are not only rated on
their energy production, but receive a bonus for producing more
energy than their home consumes. The overall winner will be
announced on October 16 for this fourth such competition since
2002. See the Solar Decathlon's Contests and Scoring page.
Team Alberta decathletes install solar panels on the roof of the
SolAbode house. The central core of the house is encased in
rundlestone, which was quarried in Alberta.
(Credit: Angel Borrego Cubero/U.S. Department of Energy Solar
There are two teams from Canada competing in this year's event.
the Team Alberta entry packs a whole lot
of living-and working and playing-area into that limited space. The
Team Alberta house includes a vaulted-ceiling living room and
kitchen area, a stone-clad core area for the bathroom and
mechanical systems, a bedroom and home office space, a rooftop
deck, a keyway dividing the bedroom/home office from the more
public areas of the house, and even a yoga space.
Team Ontario/BC set out to
tailor its Solar Decathlon house to the Canadian climate. "Because
we are a Canadian team, we wanted to design for the north, show how
to make things work in the north," says Toktam Saeid, a mechanical
engineering Master's student at Ryerson University. "We therefore
have to deal with extremely cold winters and hot and humid
The homes will be open to the public from October 9-13 and 15-18,
and will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Over 800 student competitors
from the United States, Canada, Spain, and Germany, who have been
designing and building since their teams were chosen two years ago,
will compete in this year's competition. Students will have to
perform everyday tasks, such as cooking, doing the laundry, and
even washing dishes, to test the energy efficiency of their homes.
To learn more about the teams, see the Solar Decathlon team page.
DOE is the primary sponsor of the 2009 Solar Decathlon, which is
also sponsored and managed by DOE's National Renewable Energy
Laboratory. See the event schedule andsponsor information on the Solar Decathlon