Occasionally I'll cross my normal arts boundaries and share something different. Today's excitement is the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, which has been taking place at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
College teams built solar houses and then competed in ten contests of everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, to gauge the houses' energy-efficiency, livability, and affordability. It was a truly international competition, with student teams from Belgium, Canada, China, and New Zealand, as well as the U.S.
The University of Maryland won top honors overall by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar-powered house. Purdue University took second place, followed by New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) in third place.
The application process for the sixth U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, to be held in fall 2013, has already begun.