Race to the Sun
Seventeen teams of North American architecture and engineering students, joined by a team from Spain, have shown how their generation of design professionals is preparing for a responsible, low-energy future. These students met in Washington DC in October 2005 to participate in the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall. There, the teams assembled solar-powered houses that they had designed, and they demonstrated various technologies to the visiting public.
Like an athletic decathlon, the teams were judged on ten "contests," ranging from a calculation of energy savings to a subjective evaluation of design quality. A panel of judges also assigned points for designing effective and innovative solar hot water systems, for the amount of excess energy produced by the house (used for powering electric cars), and for skill in communicating all these ideas to the public.
University of Colorado
The overall winner of the competition was the team of architecture students from the University of Colorado. Their mission statement — "to integrate natural materials and innovative technologies in an environmentally conscious, publicly accessible, modular, solar home design" — took them beyond the scope of the decathlon, and their house has now been certified by the Colorado Division of Housing as a new prototype for mobile home design. >>>
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The solar house designed and built by students from the University of Colorado for the 2005 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC.
Photo: Chris Gunn/ Solar Decathlon
Colorado students excelled in their ability to explain technological concepts to the visiting public.
Photo: Stefano Paltera/ Solar Decathlon
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