Posts Tagged 'Lumenhaus'

A New Home for the Solar Decathlon 2011

The new site for the solar decathlon was announced today.  You can read the original press release here,  http://www.solardecathlon.gov/blog/archives/731.  It was previously rumored to be moving way off the national mall south of the district and I for one, am glad that didn’t happen.  But here are a few questions that the new site bring to mind.

Firstly, the new site, West Potomac Park, is on the splot of land between the FDR Memorial/Tidal basin and the Potomac River. There are ball fields there now that get a little bit of use, and usually a great place to snag a parking spot and walk into the monuments (Lincoln, Jefferson, and FDR).  I am familiar with this part of the tourist areas as it is easy access if you know the way.  It is a beautiful area with the river to one side and the tidal basin (through the cherry trees) to the other.  There is little out there in the way of services: restrooms, food vendors, benches, etc….

Here is a sunset picture from the Jefferson end of the field that I shot last year.  Not much out there, a few trash cans and baseball backstops.  Which brings me to my first concern, there is not much out there.  Tour buses drop off loads of kids and tourists to view the Jefferson Monument just behind me (and over the bridge) in this shot.  But no easy Metro access, closest metro is about 1 1/4 mile to the Smithsonian station. Logistics will be harder to work through.

The biggest concern I have looking at the map is  http://www.solardecathlon.gov/pdfs/2011_map.pdf provided in the press release mentioned above.  They have taken the sites and rotated them 45%.  I would think that this deep into the competition, changing the orientation would be a big issue.  I would love to hear from someone involved with the teams on this as I hope that I am wrong.  Perhaps it will separate the good designs from the really great ones that are flexible enough to be reoriented.

I wish the teams good luck and hope to see great things at this year’s event.

Solar Decathalon 2009

cornellYesterday, Matt and I visited the solar decathlon on the mall in DC that is hosted by the Dept of Energy.  It was by chance that we got the opportunity to attend.  It was a gloomy drizzling rain kinda day, but that did not seem to deter the enthusiasm or crowds.  There are twenty teams competing for many different prizes.

The site is perfect for the set up.  Due to transportation limitations and construction times, the houses tend to be long and narrow.  This year not all were though.   I appreciated the round rods of the Cornel Silo house.  (They were really thinking outside the box, sorry too tempting.)  The teams have a week to construct their house on site, so pre-building as much as possible is a must.  By the looks of the group only one team appeared to have run out of time.

vt to momument

What I took away…… is that no one team seemed to have all the answers.  There are many ways to achieve sustainability in houses.  Bits and pieces from all the houses will benefit the general population in years to come.  Also that the interest in a sustainable future is strong and as popular as ever.

Be sure to check out the link above.  You can view the virtual tours and vote on your favorite.