PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

Solar Decathlon

Students demonstrate innovations that you can use today

PATH is pleased to support the 2005 Solar Decathlon. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and other partners, the Solar Decathlon brings together 18 college and university teams from around the globe to design and build houses that demonstrate the advantages of advanced homebuilding technologies.

About the Contest

Teams will transport their houses to the National Mall in Washington, DC in October of 2005. This "solar village" [IMAGE: Solar Decathlon Logo]will be open to the public October 7-16, 2005.

Solar power will be the only energy source for the teams, which must use the sun to power both their house and an electric car. The teams will compete against each other in 10 categories, including architecture, comfort, and the ability to power appliances, hot water, heating and cooling, lights and their electric car.

PATH Partners to Give Presentations for Consumers

PATH Partners will be on the National Mall from Monday, October 10th to Friday the 14th giving free informational presentations to consumers. All half hour presentations will start at 3:30 pm.

Monday, Oct. 10th: Building Sustainably & Finding a Sustainable Builder
Tuesday, Oct. 11th: Renovating Green and the 5-Year Green Plan
Wednesday, Oct. 12th: Six Simple Ways to Improve Your Next Home
Thursday, Oct. 13th: Innovation 101: How to Talk to a Builder/Remodeler about Building Sustainably
Friday, Oct. 14th: Where Homebuilding is Heading - A Discussion on the PATH Concept Home

Lessons from the Teams

The University of Maryland Solar Decathlon Team is a completely student led organization. Their 800 square foot house features a variety of PATH profiled technologies, including an energy recovery ventilator, structural insulated panels, and the use of thermal mass.

Learn why the UMD Solar Decathlon team chose these technologies and others in their Technology Corner.

An excerpt from the UMD team page on Structural Insulated Panels:

All walls of Maryland's 2005 Solar Decathlon house (except the South wall, which is mostly windows) will be constructed of structural insulated panels (SIPs). SIPs are an alternative to regular stud-frame walls that provide much better insulation and more strength for about the same amount of money.

In independent government tests, a 4 1/2" SIP was shown to provide 40% more insulating capacity then an equivalent 2 x 4 stud-frame wall. This translates into a 30-50% decrease in year-round heating and cooling bills.

SIPs can also save on assembly costs because they are ready to install. The walls of many houses can be assembled in days instead of weeks.

Content updated on 8/4/2006

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