Like most people, some days Iâ€™m optimistic about our capacity to solve our environmental and energy problems, and other days Iâ€™m pessimistic. After visiting the Solar Decathlon on the national mall last week, I came home jazzed. It wasnâ€™t the solar energy that had me excited, but the energy, enthusiasm and ingenuity of the college students who had built â€œgreenâ€ houses to be powered for a week entirely by the sun.
Todayâ€™s CNNMoney.com column looks at the event. Hereâ€™s how it begins:
The clean energy homes of tomorrow are on display all this week on America’s Main Street, the national mall in Washington, D.C.- and they are generating excitement from the FORTUNE 500 companies, government advocates for renewable energy and even some venture capitalists.
They are there as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a contest in which 20 colleges vie to build energy-efficient, sustainable, attractive and affordable homes. The results can be eye-popping.
Think low-maintenance vertical vegetation growing up the side of a house, for added insulation. Think sleek countertops and floors made of fast-growing renewable bamboo. Think an indoor waterfall that, improbably, sucks moisture from the air – it’s spiked with calcium chloride – and curbs the need for air conditioning. Think a stove powered by magnets, and insulation made from recycled blue jeans.
You can read the rest, and see pictures and video of the event, here. If you live in or around Washington, visit the Solar Decathlon. You won’t be disappointed.