I had the opportunity to go to the Mall to see the 2007 Solar Decathlon, the competition, this past Sunday. Twenty teams competed in this year's competition.
The event was well attended. There were so many people around. You see long lines everywhere. The long lines deterred me to wait in line and see each individual home.
So- instead of waiting in lines, I tried to capture the pictures of some of the houses in the competition. Pictures speak louder than words.
You'll see (below) that some of these houses are boxy-looking-themes. From marketability point of view I am not sure if regular Joe and Jane buyers would be attracted to such design. Will it sell? That's a good question. There is no actual data of how many solar-powered homes are in the Washington Metro area. From the DC Solar Homes Tour, there were only 40 of area's homes take part in the tour. But, really - is it really only 40 solar homes in our area? It's gotta be more than that. A solar-powered home supposedly have higher resale value.
The Solar Decathlon is competed in 10 areas: 1) Architecture, 2) Engineering, 3) Market Viability, 4) Communications, 5) Comfort Zone, 6) Appliances, 7) Hot Water, 8) Lighting, 9) Energy Balance, and 10) Getting Around (to fuel their electric vehicle).
These student-designed homes are completely off-grid. Meaning that
the energy generated to run the house from electricity, running the
appliances, cooling and heating, and power electric vehicle MUST come
exclusively from direct sun or solar-powered. You will see the contestants use green 'building' strategies to built the homes: passive solar energy and daylighting, evacuated-tubed solar thermal collectors (to heat water), energy-efficient appliances and active solar PV energy.
SOME OF THE CONTESTANTS
Santa Clara University
University of Maryland
University of Missouri-Rolla
Lawrence Technological University
NY Institute of Technology
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Kansas Solar House Project
Observation from the outside, it looks like the homes are designed to suit the type of climate of where the universities are based at. You will see that solar home designed by students from -- Texas !&M, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Kansas Project Solar House (KSU and Univ. of Kansas), Georgia Institute of Technology -- are solar panels heavy.
MOST UNIQUE: UNIV. of COLORADO at BOULDER
This house is unique because "..the core of the house -- including the heating and cooling systems, electrical service, laundry, and kitchen -- are all enclosed within two modified shipping containers."
Recycle products. Surplus shipping containers. Interesting concept.
Just for the fun of it. Here is my pick four looking it from architecture or design and market viability:
- University of Maryland [won the communication contest!]
- Cornell University
- Lawrence Technological University
- And the uber German-made, Technische Universitat Darmstadt. The made in Germany is high-tech designed with low-tech passive way to condition the house.
The Awards Ceremony is this coming Friday, October 19 at 2 pm. Come and see this year's winners of Solar Decathlon.
Looking at the flow of people going to see the competition on solar-powered homes, you can feel that the future looks bright for solar.