Solar homes for the world of tomorrow

For some days in October, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. will become a “solar village” with teams from different colleges and universities around the globe, participating in an unparalleled competition, the Solar Decathlon, to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.

All 20 teams selected to participate in the event present cutting-edge technologies and compete in 10 different categories to determine the winner.

These 10 categories are: Architecture, Engineering, Market Viability, Communications, Comfort Zone, Appliances, Hot Water, Lighting, Energy Balance and Getting Around.

Past Decathlons took place in the fall of 2005 and fall of 2002. During each of the past Solar Decathlons, more than 100,000 visitors flocked to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to visit the “solar village.”

In 2005, as in 2002, the University of Colorado team took home the top trophy by achieving the highest combined score for all ten Solar Decathlon contests. Second-place Cornell, third-place Cal Poly, and fourth-place Virginia Tech each won two individual contests in 2005.

As the only European participant in 2005, with a house dubbed the “Magic Box“, the Spanish team from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (U.P.M.) has again been chosen to participate in this year´s edition.

Magic Box overall final place in the competition was ninth, but many aspects it included were well liked (e.g. it won third place in the Lighting contest), so it has also been selected by the Chinese government to be showcased in the Beijing Future House Demo Park to open in June.

Because of its characteristic shape and color, “White wing” is the name given to this year´s UPM project. A key factor to consider is that the homegrown technologies that it incorporates are market-ready for commercialisation.

We will keep an eye on the developments around this interesting contest and the different teams. As always, a video is worth a thousand posts, so I will let this little clip do the explaining for me of the whole contest. It is a preview of a film that followed the steps of the team from the University of California in the 2005 Solar Decathlon:

Explore posts in the same categories: Bioclimatic architecture

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One Comment on “Solar homes for the world of tomorrow”


  1. […] Solar Decathlon (see our previous coverage here) is a bi-annual competition in ecological design and engineering. Judging will take place on […]


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