The Solar Decathlon: Bringing a Fresh Perspective to Your Average Eco Home Showcase

18 September 2017, 10:27

You’ve likely experienced it in one form or another (or maybe have been guilty of being an instigator); potential renters and home buyers can be, at times, very demanding. Their list of requirements can fall anywhere on the spectrum from reasonable to out of this world. Starting with location (location! location!), to construction materials, to appliances, and more!

Today’s consumers are savvier than ever before. Blame in on the internet or any one of a number of house-centric cable tv shows. Whatever the source of inspiration, today’s consumers are less willing to accept mediocrity. Regardless if a home is built to standard, near-zero energy, or net zero energy specifications, today’s new construction is expected to work like a well-oiled machine. New homes are likely to have more in common with that car parked outside your door (with cutting-edge heating technology, WiFi, and perhaps even power windows!) than that old home with mirrored closet doors and sponge painted walls just up the street.

  This also means that these days, home builders, contractors, and realtors just like YOU are the ones who are best positioned to lead the conversation. YOU have the power to educate the market about what’s going to deliver the most comfort and the most quality; and the most overall value!    

While not widely known, since 2002, the
U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon has also been part of this conversation. By challenging teams of college students with a two year design-build competition, the Energy Department has been faithfully supporting innovation and educating the public about the latest technologies and materials in energy-efficient design and construction. The Solar Decathlon expands on some of the best practices that we’ve seen in the industry. It’s a unique contest governed by a comprehensive set of rules and building codes.  

The teams are judged on the following:

This fall, 12 college teams from across the U.S., and two from Europe will be bringing their homes to create a temporary village when the Solar Decathlon comes to Denver, Colorado from October 5-15. These homes are also part of a free, living exhibit that’s open to everyone. Over several days, each team will be expected to demonstrate how their home can standup against these 10 categories. For the first time since it started, the Solar Decathlon will offer cash prizes. At the end of the competition, the teams will be ranked according to their net score. Visitors will have the freedom to experience some of the best-in-class options and learn about cost –effective, energy-saving techniques, materials, and products. This is a major event where event where the possibilities are limitless!  How can you 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 12!  There will also be opportunities to test drive electric vehicles among tons of other activities.
Learn more. 

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 docent 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 It’s tax-deductible!

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.–7:00p.m. 

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

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