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photo © Jill Fehrenbacher for Inhabitat

Sixteen of the teamsare from American colleges and universities, with the other four teams coming from China, Canada, New Zealand, and Belgium. The InhabitatNYC team is particularly excited because three teams are from the Big Apple area! Some of the teams were still putting the finishing touches on their homes when we arrived on Wednesday, and a few teams, like Massachusetts and New Jersey, had dozens of workers still building the homes. But for the most part, the houses are ready for judgement day.

A jury of professionals from architecture, engineering, and communication fields will be judging the houses on everything from their overall architecture and marketability to their appliances and energy-efficiency. Teams will be asked to complete tasks like cooking, washing the dishes, and doing laundry, while maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. The homes will also be judged on their affordability, a category of which we are quite interested in seeing the results — some of these homes are pretty elaborate. If the home cost more than $600,000 to build, the team will receive a big fat zero for affordability.

Winners of each of these fields will begin next Tuesday, September 27, and continue through the week with the final winner being announced on Saturday, October 1. Scores are starting to come in, and Team Marylandis currently leading the pack, with China and Purdue close behind.

We’ll be pounding the pavement all day to talk to the teams and tour the houses, so stay tuned for our exclusive photos!

+ Solar Decathlon

All photos © Inhabitat