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Solar Decathlon: How Do WE Do Efficiency?

August 31, 2009 - 4:06pm


October is a great time of year in Washington, D.C. The weather is cooling off, the trees look gorgeous and (every other year) the National Mall turns into a beehive of activity when the Solar Decathlon comes to town.

Well, it doesn't really "come to town." It's an event that the Department of Energy sponsors every other year. Twenty college and university teams come to D.C. with solar-powered homes that they have designed, built, and transported here—some across the Atlantic Ocean, no less—in order to compete. That's dedication, folks; these college teams put in two years of hard work, all of which culminates in about a week and a half of insanely busy activity.

So why am I mentioning this event on the Energy Savers blog?

Because Solar Decathlon is also a series of seminars and exhibits on home construction, energy efficiency, and state-of-the-art technologies. Some of these are built into the homes themselves, while others are showcased in attractions such as the Anatomy of a Home exhibit. There is a huge amount for interested homeowners to learn about insulation, windows, and appliances.

If you can come to the National Mall this October (the 9th through the 18th, with all houses closed to the public on the 14th), I'd encourage you to do so. The event is truly amazing and one of the largest that is routinely sponsored on the Mall. If you can't, visit the Solar Decathlon Web site so that you can see the homes and get an idea of how they were built. You'll probably come away with plenty of ideas on how to make your own home more energy efficient.

See you in October!