The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which kicks off today in Irvine, Calif., is a program that challenges collegiate teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses.
First held in 2002 and now held every two years since 2005, the competition tasks aspiring building professionals with creating homes that are cost-effective and energy-efficient, while still maintaining attractive design and functionality. According to the DOE, the winner of the competition is the team that “best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.”
So what’s the point? The Solar Decathlon proves to the public that comfort, affordability and energy-efficiency can all be achieved simultaneously in homes today, and exposes future engineers, designers, architects and builders to the concept of green building.
We know all about seamlessly blending comfort and energy-efficiency for long-term affordability. We’re also no stranger to the Solar Decathlon. In the last competition in 2011, the first place winning team, University of Maryland, used Mitsubishi Electric residential cooling and heating systems for its home’s HVAC needs, as did the People’s Choice Award winner, Appalachian State University. Based on this track record, we have high hopes for the five teams using our systems for their homes this year:
- Norwich University
- Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of Nevada Las Vegas
- West Virginia University
If you’re in Southern California, we highly recommend checking out this event. The Solar Decathlon takes place Oct. 3–13, 2013, at Orange County Great Park. The competition houses will be open to visitors on eight days over two weekends. Public hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. We know who we’ll be cheering for!