U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has inaugurated the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 at a ceremony at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.
The biennial competition that challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate houses powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive and easy to live in. This year's competition includes student teams from universities in the U.S., Germany, Honduras, Italy and Panama. Teams were chosen nearly two years ago through a competitive process. Over nine days, they will compete in 10 contests that consider each house's performance, livability and affordability.
The affordability contest rewards teams that build houses with estimated costs at or below $250,000. The teams will have to perform a variety of everyday tasks, such as cooking, laundry and washing dishes, to test the livability and energy use of their houses. The winner of the overall competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
‘These inspiring collegiate teams show the world how energy-efficient building design and clean energy products available today can help families and businesses save money by saving energy," Moniz says. ‘The event provides student competitors with unique real-world training to become the clean energy workforce of the future and helps ensure that our nation remains competitive in the global race for clean energy.’