Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 wrapped up. Even though the sun has set at the Solar Decathlon village and students have gone home, their hard work is having a lasting effect on sustainable design and our nation’s clean energy leaders.
A two-year competition that challenges collegiate teams to build energy-efficient, solar-powered houses, the Solar Decathlon is a perfect example of how the Energy Department is training and inspiring the next generation of architects, engineers and entrepreneurs. Over the course of the competition, students gain hands-on experience in everything from fundraising and marketing to design and construction. Showcasing their houses to the general public allows students to get feedback on their designs and how they work in the real world -- something that many of them would never get in the classroom.
But the Solar Decathlon goes far beyond inspiring just university and college students. From sparking the interest of a middle school student to create sustainable buildings to motiving a homeowner to install LED bulbs, the Solar Decathlon is also changing the way the general public thinks about sustainable home design. Visitors to the Solar Decathlon are learning that clean energy technology can help create homes that are attractive and cost effective without sacrificing comfort.
Watch our latest video for highlights from this year’s Solar Decathlon and insights into how the competition is shaping the careers of the students involved and making sustainable home design popular.