Brace yourself O.C.: It’s unclear if the battle of the Solar Decathlon will return to Irvine’s Orange County Great Park in 2017. This week the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 16 participating teams who are gearing up for the task of designing and building a solar-powered house, but the feds have yet to announce the competition site.
The United States Department of Energy has named the 10 teams that will compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon. The biennial program was launched in 2002 and “challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.” The teams are then judged on affordability, consumer ability, and overall design excellence. The Decathlon will be held October 8–18 in Irvine, California, but you can preview all of the teams’ work right now.
One of the biggest casualties since the death of California Redevelopment has been the Orange County Great Park. The 1,360-acre expanse on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine has seen more than $1 billion in funds redirected to other state priorities, putting its future in severe jeopardy.
One (very) partial solution just emerged, according to the LA Times: developer Fivepoint Communities would more than double the number of residences surrounding the park in exchange for chipping in $200 million to the city of Irvine to aid with park construction.
Of course that’s just a small fraction of what’s needed, leaving many wondering if the park, which is not even one-tenth complete, will ever be finished. But City Council member Larry Agran disagrees: “The fact of the matter is, the Great Park will be built. It may take longer than 20, 25 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. We’re making progress, and major construction is underway right now at the Great Park.”
AN contributor Christina Chan sends this wee report from Irvine:
Pretend City is populated entirely by kids–this mini replica of a city is Irvine’s newest children’s museum. The 28,000-square-foot facility, which just opened its doors to visitors, has taken over a decade to come to fruition. Philanthropists Alexandra Airth and Sandra Peffer are behind the new mini-metropolis. The museum includes interactive learning exhibits geared for kids up to eight years of age.The city includes a farm where little ones can learn about the food they consume, a ATM for financial learning, a café with mock ovens and menus, and a beach that will teach about the effects of pollution. And for budding architects, there is even a construction site where kids (and perhaps grown-ups, too) can build structures with wooden planks.