The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon pits collegiate teams against one another to design, build and operate a solar-powered house that is cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

The Decathlon is being held at the National Mall, West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. from Sept. 23 – Oct. 2. Those in the area should swing by to see all the entries. Everyone else can take a peak at the teams and their homes on the Solar Decathlon website.

My alma mater, Middlebury College, has a team in the competition. I was pleased to see them currently at 8th place out of 19 teams. Each team’s house gets scored on Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Communications, Affordability, Comfort Zone, Hot Water, Appliances, Home Entertainment and Energy Balance. Only four of the 10 elements have been scored so far. Fingers crossed for Team Midd!

Great to see college kids getting excited about affordable and energy-efficient homes. We’ll need these bright, focused minds bringing their innovation and passion to that industry in the near future.

Solar Decathlon 2011