I spent one day at the 2017 Solar Decathlon at the Panasonic building near the airport in Denver. John Avenson hosted a booth at the Solar Decathlon for the Passive House Institute and included the various energy efficiency non profit groups in Colorado. He also represented the Colorado Renewable Energy Society local chapter of the national group that put on the conference, the American Solar Energy Society, and the Colorado Springs EV Club . He invited me to come and spend some volunteer hours at the booth and I did. John is amazingly dedicated to sharing energy efficiency with others and I worked to get people to stop for some solar wisdom. But I also took some time to visit most of the solar homes built for the Decathlon competition.
The houses are built by college students using the latest technologies and vie for points in architecture, water conservation, energy use and production, marketing, market potential, engineering, communications, appliances, health and comfort and home life. The home with the highest points in all categories wins the competition.
Walking through the houses I was looking for energy saving ideas, unique building materials and style. The homes were 2 bedrooms with bath, living room and kitchen facilities. They were very nice. The completed homes are donated to Habitat for Humanity in Denver this year. My favorites were the UC Davis home with its homemade furniture from beetle killed pine and its demo system showing household water use in led dots. Another favorite was the Silo house by Missouri S&T, a modern farmhouse style with a very interesting grey water filtering system. I didn’t get to all the houses though, including the winning house built by the Swiss team! It is possible to walk through every house virtually with Youtube videos.
A few of my favorite things: