If you believe the children are our future, then you’ll be happy to know there are dozens of college students who are learning to make energy-efficient homes right now. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, 15 schools are competing to design and build operational solar-powered houses.
Taking place between October 8 and 18 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, the teams will compete in a series of contests, including home appliance performance, architecture, and comfort. On the weekends, the houses will be open to the public, so visitors can get ideas for their own homes and learn some tricks to save money and energy.
According to the guidelines, the winning team will produce a house that is “affordable, attractive, and easy to live in; maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions; supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment; provides adequate hot water; and produces as much or more energy than it consumes.”
Here’s the list of schools competing in the Decathlon:
This house focuses on water-saving features and making the most of the region’s temperate climate.
The team wanted to make a home that was not only net-zero but comfortable and livable.
Indigo Pine is a house suited to the South Carolina climate but still has a low environmental impact.
Missouri has had its share of devastating tornadoes, and ShelteR3 is meant to serve as a habitable living space in the aftermath of disasters.
This year marks the school’s sixth participation in the Decathlon, this time with its Nest house.
Because of its New York City location, the Durahome is meant to be a sustainable urban solution.
The team focused on making a flexible house, with both high- and low-cost options for different families.
After Hurricane Sandy, the creators of the Sure House wanted to make something that would withstand rising sea levels and severe storms.
The NexusHaus was designed not only for the competition but with an eye towards mass production.
In addition to its solar power, the Grow house also has room for the owner to grow crops.
Targeting agricultural farmworkers, the team wants to make a very affordable, efficient house.
Considering its southern California location, it’s not surprising the Casa Del Sol has drought-resilient landscaping.
Thanks to the partnership between the two schools, the Stile house brings together Italian and Appalachian design.
The Easi Living home will have a New England-style exterior and modern interior.
Designed for young professionals, the Y House integrates the outdoor and indoor spaces to make the 700-square-foot place seem roomier.
Update 9/15/2015: Updated to reflect Indigo Pine is located in South Carolina.