To win the Solar Decathlon, you don’t have to run faster or throw a javelin farther than your competitors. The winner of Solar Decathlon is the team that builds the best solar-powered house, and if you’re in Washington, D.C., you can see the 19 entrants in the 2011 competition by visiting Potomac Park before Oct. 2. The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. This is the fifth year that the contest has been held.
It’s called a decathlon, because, as in the Olympics, the winner must compete in 10 categories. Think Progress Green describes the competition this way:
The first five [categories] are judged by expert juries in architecture, market Appeal, engineering, communications and affordability. The second five are quantitatively measured: comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and the all-important energy balance.
The winning house will combine the following characteristics:
- Is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in
- Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
- Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment
- Provides adequate hot water
Among the 2011 entrants are projects called: E-Cube, by Team Belgium; Y Container, by Team China; 4D Home, by Team Massachusetts; ENJOY House, by Team New Jersey; and Living Light, by University of Tennessee
You can watch video walkthroughs of many of the entrants and read detailed descriptions of each project at Think Progress Green.