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Countdown to Solar Decathlon: The Info You Need Before You Go

September 29, 2009 - 10:44am

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Maybe I'm just not paying enough attention to the date, but this took me a little by surprise: The Solar Decathlon is already less than two weeks away!

The Solar Decathlon, if you haven't heard about it, is an event put on once every two years by the U.S. Department of Energy. Essentially, 20 university teams are challenged to construct a house that is 100% powered by solar energy.

In early October, the teams will set up their homes in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall, where they'll be judged in ten contests. And those homes will be judged on just about everything—they have to be well constructed, capable of powering all the household appliances you'd expect in a normal home, be marketable in the market of their choice, and far more. (Heck, they even have to be capable of putting on a good dinner party.)

There's more than that, but let's get to the interesting part. Let's say that you want to learn more about what's going on during the Decathlon—and believe me, it's already incredibly busy, even though it hasn't started yet. Where can you go to learn more about what to expect?

Well, if you're itching to learn more about the teams, or you're just ready to be super excited about the upcoming event, you'll probably want to start with the Solar Decathlon Web site.

From there, you might want to take a look at all of the team pages. Each of the 20 teams has their own page that describes their home, with links to their Web pages.

After that, you might want to head down to the team news page, which is linked in to the team blogs.

You can also check out the Solar Decathlon YouTube channel, where you can see short videos made by the teams themselves. All of their houses are incredibly creative, so be sure to check out all the teams and see how their projects are coming together!

And if you're near Washington, D.C., or are otherwise interested in visiting the Decathlon this year, be sure to check out the visitors page to learn more about when to visit, how to get there, and what to expect while you're there.

And hey, even if you can't visit the Decathlon itself, don't despair—there's a virtual tour in the works and, once the event starts, there will be webcams posted on the Web site, so you can load up your browser and watch from afar. It's not the same as being there, but at least you can avoid the crowds.

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