Eye Candy From The Solar Decathalon

Ohio State's enCORE placed 5th at the Decathlon (Photo: Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon)


Every once in a while, I pay my respects to the art of green design. In an industry where each and every one of your clients and colleagues are looking for the latest and greatest, you have to take notice of innovation. The Solar Decathlon is a major venue for this type of innovation. Put on the by the US Department of Energy, the Decathlon showcases the best home designs from universities all around the world.




In short, the DOE challenges collegiate teams around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered homes that meet a number of judging criteria. The home that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, design excellence, energy production and maximum efficiency – wins. You should always expect to see net-zero homes on display, and this year did not disappoint.


Over the weekend, I took some time to review the entries and the winners. The good people over at Jetson Green (one of my favorite blogs) attended the D.C. event and did a great job with their series of articles on the event. Check out their articles and get a glimpse of all 19 entries.


I will say that my two faves have to be the homes from Ohio State (a little biased there) and Appalachian State University.  ASU actually ended up as the fan favorite, while OSU placed 5th. The University of Maryland placed first with its eye-catching , wetland included, WaterShed.


ASU’s “Homestead” design was extremely innovative, relying on “plug-in” mobile outdoor modules to both produce additional energy and expand the use of the home. The significant deck space is always a big win for me.  The OSU “enCORE” topped out the hot water and comfort categories, while remaining extremely affordable.  I am a big fan of the OSU design, which focused on comfort by using an attractive layout in a efficient space.


If you would like to see all of the homes, please follow this link and visit Jetson Green. Since the event is biennial, we won’t see it again until 2013. Two more years of new technology and development? I cannot wait.



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