Solar Decathlon –
The World Cup for Envirogeeks



by Susan
Surprise, y’all  – the U.S. Department of Energy is doing something about energy that’s way cool!  For the
third time, they sponsored the Solar Decathlon, a contest to engineer and build solar-powered homes, which are then displayed and judged on the National Mall in D.C.  Teams from 20 schools around the world competed – from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany and Canada.  The German team won and nearby University of Maryland came in second (go Terps!).

Here’s the Enviro News story about the winners.  Note who the other sponsors are: architects, homebuilders, the Green Building Council, Sprint and BP. Hmm; I wonder what’s up with that.

I visited the competition recently and would LOVE to have gone inside and gotten the full tour but hey, the lines were long, requiring waits of an hour or more per home.  So I left with just a few photos and not a lot of information about the event – until I saw a story about it on "CBS Sunday Morning," with the excellent David Pogue of the New York Times.  Fortunately, David didn’t have to wait in line and was even able to show us the awards ceremony, which got me a little misty-eyed over the excitement and commitment of the 20 teams of brainiacs. 

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.