The U.S. Department of Energy has just announced the location of the 2013 Solar Decathlon – as well as the 20 lucky teams who will be competing for green design glory! After being kicked off the National Mall last year, organizers scrambled to find a back up location – and they’ve found a gem in the Golden State.
At an event today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and unveiled the competition’s location, the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The 20 teams from colleges and universities across the United States and from around the world will now begin a two-year process to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient homes that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence. Throughout the two-year process, the teams will design, construct and test their homes before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition site. As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in ten different categories – ranging from best architecture and engineering to energy production for heating and cooling – while gaining invaluable real-world experience in a growing global industry.
“As President Obama made clear in the State of the Union address this week, we need to ensure that the next generation of America’s architects, engineers and entrepreneurs have the hands-on experience and training they need to lead our nation’s clean energy future,” said Secretary Chu. “The Solar Decathlon will unleash the ingenuity, creativity and drive from these talented students to demonstrate new ideas for how families and businesses can reduce energy use and save money with clean energy products and efficient building design.”
In fall 2013, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses at the Orange County Great Park, highlighting renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products and appliances that are already available to homeowners. The selected teams and their proposed projects represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, target markets, geographic locations, climates, and regions, including urban, suburban, and rural settings.
Since 2002, the National Mall in Washington, DC, has been the venue for five successful Solar Decathlons. For 2013, Solar Decathlon organizers decided to extend the competition’s reach beyond Washington and showcase energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to a new group of visitors and sponsors. The Orange County Great Park, located between Los Angeles and San Diego, is a dynamic venue that can accommodate the 20 competition houses and the special needs of the Solar Decathlon event—featuring flexible space, ample visitor parking, existing facilities for large special events, and nearby services for visitors. With direct freeway and rail access and generally favorable weather conditions, the Park will also ensure that residents across Southern California have an opportunity to experience the Solar Decathlon.