The 2011 Solar Decathlon, which is a ten day event where groups of college students create homes that are powered entirely by capturing the energy from the sun, is now in its fifth year. The idea behind the event is to not only allow minds to dream of alternative ways to live but it also shows the public, in a very visible way, how these dreams would become reality. Each year, the best and brightest minds come together to create sustainable solar powered homes to be entered into the annual contest.
The students who participate in these events are working to send a two-fold message. They are trying to educate the public, to show them that a seemingly niche technology has the power to be a big boon for sustainable development, as well as to show them that green jobs are the way of the future.
This display of dwellings, set up right in the heart of our nationâ€™s capitol is meant to get the attention of folks who drive themselves to work each morning, shutting their garage door, ready for a long individual commute in a vehicle that can hold seven. The message is for everyday people to see possibility.
However this year, the Decathlon was not held without its own bit of backlash towards the green community in the wake of a recently bankrupted solar company. The weather was also trying to work against the event, which opened to rainy, gloomy weather. But the students remained positive and the sun did indeed come out on the event. With it came the eco-conscious from near and far.
For self-proclaimed "greenies", this is one of the events of the year. In addition to being solar powered, these homes are also carbon neutral. They contain energy saving appliances and the latest in efficiency technology. It is a great way to unveil the latest ideas and findings in the green engineering community. A vast array of technologies - some innovative, some downright strange - are put on display for the public to see and to be viewed for judging.
This event is just one of many that show off the bright minds of the future. As more college students are making a career in sustainable development and engineering, bigger and better ideas will be created, some that could possibly innovate new design techniques. This event is a great way to show the public just what is possible, as well as a great means for those of like-mind to get together and share their knowledge.