This past February students competing in Solar Decathlon 2011 were in an uproar when the US Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed to move the 2011 Solar Decathlon from its long-held place at Washington DC’s National Mall. After lobbying from senators and even President Obama, the DOI decided that it would move the Decathlon from its original place between the Washington Monument and the Capitol, but would keep it on the Mall at West Potomac Park.
With the final decision made earlier this year, collegiate teams continued their work and now have begun construction on their solar houses at the Decathlon’s new location. Over 4,000 students from five countries and four continents will be working on building their solar sustained houses between September 13 and September 20. An opening ceremony for the competition will be held on September 22, which will mark the official opening of the 10 days of competition where each team will compete in 10 contests that gauge each house’s performance, livability and affordability.
Teams have representatives from American and international universities competing in this year’s program including students from the University of Calgary, University of Maryland and The Southern California Institute of Architecture. The houses will be open to the public from September 23 through October 2 with the overall winner of the competition announced on October 1.