Solar Decathlon Kicks Off With The Homes Of The Future
On Friday June 18th, Europe's first Solar Decathlon, a competition to see who can build the most efficient and eco-powered home, kicked off amidst much fanfare at the Villa Solar near Madrid's Royal Palace.
Open to Universities all across the world, the competition involves pre-constructing a life-size green home and then assembling it at the competition venue. Once assembled, the teams have to live in the homes for the entire nine days to demonstrate its effectiveness and efficiency.
As the name indicates, each home is judged on ten areas including affordability, innovative architecture, integration of technological components and ability to produce the energy required to operate the home. The inaugural European event has attracted seventeen teams, including five from Spain and two apiece from the United Kingdomand the USA.
The European competition is based on a similar one held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. The biennial event, sponsored by Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, allows 20 entrants and lasts for three weeks.
Held since 2002, it is extremely popular with both competitors and audience. The Washington D.C. competitions attracts over 100,000 people each year, who not only get a glimpse of what the future home may look like, but also, take home ideas about how to become a little more green in their current homes. After the competition, a few homes are sold to recoup the costs or raise money for future competitions. However, most of them are proudly displayed at University campuses.