Today kicks off the third Solar Decathlon in D.C., where students from 20 universities swing into town and transform the National Mall into a solar village. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the competition involves ten events which must "power all the home energy needs of a typical family using only the power of the sun." From their rulebook:
The homes must be attractive and easy to live in. They must maintain a comfortable temperature, provide attractive and adequate lighting, power household appliances for cooking and cleaning, power home electronics, and provide hot water. These houses must also power an electric vehicle to meet household transportation needs.
The homes will be on display on the National Mall from October 12 - 20. Tours of the team houses are available every day, except Wednesday, October 17, when they will close in order to measure their temperature (see the full schedule here). Visit our friends over at Inhabitat for more photos of last year's event.
Photo: Stefano Paltera / Solar Decathlon