The Incredible, Affordable Solar Decathlon 2011

March/April 2012
A version of this article appears in the March/April 2012 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 01, 2012
Last September, 19 college teams with more than 4,000 students from around the world arrived on the National Mall's West Potomac Park. Their mission: Build a self-powered solar house for less than $250,000 to compete in architecture, energy efficiency, market appeal, and seven other contests for DOE’s Solar Decathlon 2011. The result—the average house cost dropped from $485,000 in 2009 to $325,000. Seven of the houses—after ten days of mostly cloudy weather—met more than 100% of their own power, lighting, and thermal-comfort needs.

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