For the next few weeks, Denver is hosting an internationally-recognized collegiate competition called the Solar Decathlon. Organized by the US Department of Energy, it will pit 13 teams of university students against each other to design and build the best full-sized solar-powered house. The students began assembling their solar-powered houses on Saturday, September 23 and have until the first week of October to complete them. Even though there will only be one winner, all of the houses are used after the competition in some way — with some being sold and transported, others being displayed at their respective colleges, and others used for research.
Every house must be completely powered with solar and be able to blend market potential with energy and water efficiency. There are 10 contests within the Solar Decathlon that are graded on a point scale — architecture, market potential, communications, engineering, innovation, water, health and comfort, appliances, home life, energy — and the culmination of these 10 categories will produce one grand prize winner in October. During the weeks of assemblage, some of the contests only require that judges inspect the units, while other contests — like home life — will ask teams to hold dinner parties for the other contestants in their homes using the energy, cookware, appliances and furniture.
Interesting, we need more competitive innovation like this, I hope that the focus of the market for energy efficient homes will eventually revolve around the idea of affordable green built homes with renewable energy such as solar space heating included in the design and hence covered in the home loan cost.