A Place Where Green Houses are for People, not Plants

18 September 2017, 10:21

As professionals in this industry, we all get that buying a home can be seriously nerve-racking! Lots of us have lived through this complicated process ourselves. Many of us have also seen firsthand, how first-time buyers view this commitment as probably the biggest purchase of their lives. Those on their second, third (or more) home, can still find the home buying process complicated and fraught with unfamiliar lingo. Even the shrewdest planners will tell you, that even with all the planning in the world, it won’t necessarily protect you from surprises. Face it, those unexpected costs will happen.

Those savvier prospective home buyers, meaning the ones that have done their homework, know that they can reduce their monthly bills by investing in renewable energy. Using renewable energy to power a home can easily minimize or completely eliminate utility bills, and the tax incentives for installing renewables can make these purchases even more cost effective! It’s a lot to think about. We also know that it’s not always easy to connect with prospective buyers who are seeking to make the transition to clean energy. When it comes to demonstrating clean energy homes in action, it not always so simple to try before you buy.

However, for a brief time this October, that will all change!


From October 5-15, an event that can only best be described as the national championship of solar home building for university students, will be landing in Denver, Colorado.  The Solar Decathlon, presented by the U.S. Department of Energy, has 11 university teams competing in 10 contests. They’re evaluated on cost-effective design; innovation balanced with market potential; water and energy efficiency; energy production and time-of-use energy; and communications strategies. The general public is also invited to explore these homes, as part of free, all-ages event. Visitors, including area school groups are welcome to tour the homes and interact with the university students involved in the competition. It’s a rare opportunity experience what it could be like to live in a 100% sustainable home.

This year marks the first time in the Solar Decathlon’s 15 year history that the Solar Decathlon will be held in Denver. Like a mirage, it will appear for a couple of weeks, and then disappear, and will return in 2020! The event site is located directly adjacent to Peña Station, a stop on the city’s newly developed high speed commuter rail line that runs between downtown Denver and the city’s airport. The site is also the future site of a “smart living” hub. While currently the temporary home of the Solar Decathlon, the location will eventually be built out as a mix-used development offering numerous options for residential, retail, and commercial office space.

Coinciding with National Clean Energy Week, September 25-29, prior to when the event opens its doors to the public, the 11 competing  teams from across the U.S., and two from Europe, will be coming together to reconstruct their designs. For all the teams involved, it’s the final leg of a life-changing, two year journey. In all, approximately 200 students will be coming together to present their dream designs, showcasing what they have carefully engineered; a unique vision, chock full of sustainable technologies. From modular construction to water conservation and re-use strategies, this year’s collection of Solar Decathlon houses have it all when it comes to technology, design and creativity. It’s a memorable event for all involved, and something that’s not to be missed!

Event Dates & Hours*

-Thursday, October 5–Sunday, October 8, 2017: 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

Monday, October 9, 2017: 1:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 12–Sunday, October 15, 2017: 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.


*During the remaining dates and times, the Solar Decathlon village is closed to the public for competition activities.

Get Involved

·     Attend —and bring your friends, family, and colleagues!  Take a class…or two. Attend workshops for both professionals and the general public. Tour one model home or all 11!  There will also be opportunities to test drive electric vehicles among tons of other activities.

·     Volunteer at the Solar Village! Upwards of 100,000 people from across the country will visit the Solar Decathlon! This is a great opportunity to lend a hand as a tour guide or greeter. Learn more

·       Participate in the Sustainability Expo! Showcase your capabilities andgain access to prospective home buyers. Learn more

·       Can’t make it, but still love the idea?  Consider making a donation at supportsolar.org. It’s tax-deductible!

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