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2005 Solar Decathlon in Washington DC





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You Could Get a $4,000 Tax Credit on Solar Power in 2006

15th Annual Metro Washington DC Tour of Solar Homes and Buildings

Solar house in Takoma Park

Here's more highlights of the 2005 Solar Decathlon.



Here's an inverter from Sunny Boy. An inverter takes the direct current (DC) voltage from solar panels and converts it to the alternating current that the house needs. It also converts it to 120 volts from whatever voltage the particular cells produce. It's hard to see but the display is indicating that 336 pounds of carbon dioxide have been saved compared to using conventional electricity.




Appliances played a very important role in the Decathlon. Here's a small dishwasher in Crowder College's house. It slides out like a drawer and is perfect for smaller loads.


More than one school, including University Missouri-Rolla and Rolla Technical  Institute, used a combined clothes washer and drier made by Asko. Asko has some of the most energy efficient appliances on the market, and they're not particularly expensive.




Here's an innovated design on the Rhode Island School of Design house. The metal louvers on the side of the house are hinged. Microprocessor control rotates then so they always face toward the sun. The serve to keep the house cooler by capturing energy from the sun that would heat up the house and venting it away from the wall. It reduced cooling costs by about half.




Each house was supposed to produce enough extra electricity to charge an electric car. These are Gemcars, made by a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler. Since it was very overcast for most of the first eight days of the Decathlon, this really put the schools to the test. The weather turned out to be a "worst case" situation, so the students really learned a lot.




The last two days of the event, which were on a weekend, turned out to be beautiful. In the afternoon, the turnouts turned out to be very high. Even a few members of Congress made the one mile journey from the Capitol building to see the students' hard work.

So many people were asking questions of the students centered around "how do I install this stuff on my house?" Since energy costs have surged, solar energy seems now to be perceived as not something for eccentrics, but very desirable.







Oct. 2005





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