The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon has officially moved west. The bi-annual event, in which college teams vie against each other to build top-tier solar powered homes, opened yesterday at the Orange County Great Park. After a decade in Washington D.C. the competition had overstayed its welcome on the National Mall, and was looking for a new place to get the word out about sustainability, said event founder Richard King. The Great Park beat out sites in 20 cities around the country. With its 11-acre space at the Great Park the event has significantly expanded. Not only does it include a “village” of houses from the 19 collegiate teams—including California schools SCI-Arc/Caltech, USC, UC Santa Clara, and Stanford— but it also contains an expo showing off sustainable solutions for homes, gardens, and even cars. Teams had only nine days to build their homes, so the environment was pretty tense (wouldn’t it make a good reality show?). But now it’s all done, and you can see the results if you’re willing to trek to Irvine. The winners, according to the DOE, will “best blend affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.” They will be announced on October 12, so stay tuned.
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