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Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off With Irvine Workshop

Originally published on 1Sun4All.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 will present the sustainable housing achievements of 17 collegiate teams. The student teams are given two years to design and build solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The net-zero homes will be on display – systems operated and monitored – for two weeks. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

This year’s competition incorporates a new sustainable transportation category with the addition of Commuting as one of its 10 contests. Along with the showcase houses, we’ll see the integration of electric vehicles that are charged from the home’s solar electric system and driven for 25 miles or two hours each day. How fun will it be for the team members to take their zero- emission cars out on the public roadways in or around the Orange County Great Park?

solar decathlon 2015 All Team

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 teams gather at the Orange County Great Park on Friday, January 9, for an all-team photo. | Credit: Amy Vaughn for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The countdown for Solar Decathlon 2015 has begun and Carol Laurie, communications manager for Solar Decathlon, brings us the story of the weekend workshop with Richard King that happened on January 9 and 10. 250 Solar Decathlon 2015 students, faculty, and organizers gathered in Irvine, California, for the workshop that served as the backdrop for a weekend of comradery and intense information download.

On Friday, January 9, the teams walked the Orange County Great Park competition site, which was marked with chalk lines to indicate the Solar Decathlon village and each team’s lot. That evening, the Great Park Foundation hosted a dinner at which Irvine city council members welcomed the teams and each team presented a 3-minute introduction of its house design and philosophy.

Mayor Choi and members of the city council got to hear firsthand from our decathletes and see images of their house designs. We are all excited for the competition to begin in October. –Solar Decathlon Director Richard King.

solar decathlon 2015

Solar Decathlon Director Richard King addresses an audience of Solar Decathlon 2015 decathletes, faculty, city council members, and organizers at a welcome dinner hosted by the Great Park Foundation on Friday, January 9. | Credit: Amy Vaughn for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The all-day Design Development Review workshop on Saturday, January 10, immersed teams in the details of this challenging collegiate competition. Solar Decathlon organizers held 15 unique sessions—on topics ranging from house designs to cost estimates to communications, media relations, and sponsorships—with each team.

This intense, all-day workshop helps teams get their heads around what it will take to compete in the Solar Decathlon. With 9 months to go until the start of contests in Irvine, teams must finish planning and start executing their designs. — Joe Simon, competition manager.

The 17 teams participating in Solar Decathlon 2015 include seven teams that have participated in past U.S. competitions. Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon has involved 130 collegiate teams and nearly 20,000 decathletes.

Planning on attending? This year’s competition is scheduled to take place at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California from October 8 through October 18.

The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors — free of charge — from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily on eight days over two weekends:

  • Thursday, October 8–Sunday, October 11, 2015.
  • Thursday, October 15–Sunday, October 18, 2015.
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Written By

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,


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