Gallery: SOLAR DECATHLON: Solar house design competition


How difficult is it to design a house fully powered by the sun? That’s what the U.S. Department of Energy is trying to find out. To do this, they have staged, once again, the Solar decathlon, a competition challenging 20 college teams from around the globe to design, build, and operate an energy-efficient, fully solar-powered house that will be able to satisfy the needs of a typical family, and look good doing it.

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  1. John Ireland June 1, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I just came across this web site recently and was very impressed with the Cornell solar model home. I’m looking forward to the next solar decathalon on the mall and plan to attend the event. Well done!

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  4. djfred October 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I’m there. I’m still trying to decide whether it’s better to get there for the kick-off or after they announce the winners.

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  9. Christopher P. August 20, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Great concepts, to be broadly integrated into housing. Stand-alone hi-tech homes are not capable of being made “affordable”, if the measure of affordability is the annual incomes of those who need housing most. It would be interesting if the schools were asked to do an integrated “neighborhood plan” to augment each other. This would be a model for more affordable “village” infrastructural re-development. Also, I am concerned that wind-power is not mentioned in the competition — wind is the biggest solar heat-engine of all, after deep ocean currents!

  10. Walt Barrett August 17, 2007 at 7:36 am

    These homes have to be made more affordable and much more attractive. Some of those roof mounts and designs will never survive even a small wind storm. We need better and more marketable designs and people have to be able to afford them.

  11. Ebonie August 16, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Here is the Cornell runner-up team’s webstie:

    There design is awesome, and a greywater system can be integrated into it.

  12. Walt Barrett August 16, 2007 at 6:53 am

    The solar ideas are great, but the homes are not very attractive. It’s difficult to market a home whose appearance is off the norm. Also, we can’t lose sight of the affordability. The people that need homes the most these days have the least amount of money. We need more attractive, simple, low cost designs for solar homes.
    There is no need for them to look like ugly patchwork quilts.

  13. Will August 15, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    this is such a good idea. thanks for once, government of the united states

  14. Walt Barrett August 15, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Solar homes are great, but they need to be more attractive, and they have to be more affordable. These are the real challanges of solar home design.

  15. Sarah August 15, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    This looks great. I’m going to try and make it out for it in October.

  16. Happy Solar panel user Jim August 15, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Todays Solar panels are highly efficient and do work the whole year around. Even at cloudy days ,the new solar sytems give us a huge amount of energy. The best thing you can do is, to talk to people who own Solar panels. Ask them how about the costs,energysavings,purposes. Solar panels simply are a great way to help you saving energy,without any bad polution. There are also a lot of good second hand used panels,less expensive…I also have 4 panels (16 years old) and i know they will contnue working for at least 16 more years.

  17. Walt Barrett August 15, 2007 at 6:06 am

    The ideas are great, but the biggest complaint I keep hearing is that most solar homes are not attractive looking. I think we need more traditional attractive designs. Some of the homes look like patchwork quilts.
    In order to be saleable a product must be attractive as well as functional. We have the same problem with some of the Hybrid cars. Where is it written that they have to be ugly?

  18. devo August 15, 2007 at 4:33 am

    i LOVE the runner-up house with all that vegetation. just blends in to environment. it would really be great if plants are fed with greywater from sinks, washer, etc. is that natural ventilation and light? would it work down here in texas? is this considered pre-fab? BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

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