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Solar Decathalon 2011 Powers Up

Amanda Crosby, right, and Belinda Dods of New Zealand celebrate placing the final screw on the deck of their house

What does it take to build a solar village, where homes not only are designed to create more energy than they use but are comfortable and cool to look at, too? Some 19 student teams from U.S. and international colleges found out this past weekend as they began installing their entries to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The answer: lots of hands-on work involving hammers, wrenches, plumbing, and construction cranes.

The flurry of activity capped the students’ two-year effort to prepare for the competition (we covered the 2009 one here), which this year takes place from September 23 to October 2.

The judges won’t have an easy time picking the winner from this ‘hood full of ingenious–and distinct–homes springing up near the Washington Monument.  Middlebury College’s traditional-looking “self-reliant” farmhouse, for instance stands in stark contrast to Team Belgium’s futuristic E-Cube. In keeping with its Chesapeake Bay preservation theme, the University of Maryland’s WaterShed features a V-shaped green roof and constructed wetland to help filter “gray water” from the shower. By contrast, City College of New York students designed a modular Solar Roofpod that could turn unused space atop skyscrapers into an energy-efficient penthouse.

Here are some photo highlights from the build – for more information and student interviews, check out our story here. Stay up-to-date on Solar Decathlon happenings on the DOE blog.

SCI-Arc/Caltech students work to finish the interior of their house

Team New York’s house appears ready for public tours

Ohio State students work on sanding their handrail

University of Maryland student Isabel Enerson focuses her attention towards landscaping as the team prepares their house

A student from Canada’s team works on the solar panels at the team house

Photos: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

4 Responses to “Solar Decathalon 2011 Powers Up”


  2. is there a way you can join? if so please let me know

  3. I would like to know more about this – please tell me where else I can find more information about this. This is a great resource, I could use it for a project that I am working on. If you get a chance please let me know where I can find more information

  4. More Information: 2011 Solar Decathlon

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