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Bark Twice if Your Dog Wants to Go Solar

Thursday, May 25, 2017

By Alexis Powers

The Solar Decathlon has inspired many design competitions over the past 15 years, among them the Energy Department’s Collegiate Wind Competition, Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Tiny House Competition, the Alliance for Green Heat’s Wood Stove Design Challenge, and EmPower’s Solar Student Competition. But we’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

This year, our partners at Denver International Airport (DEN) are hosting the first Sustainable BARKitecture solar doghouse competition in the run-up to Solar Decathlon 2017. That’s right. Denver-area architectural and engineering firms are stepping up to the challenge by designing solar houses to compete in five contests—Architecture, Engineering, Innovation, Sustainability, and, of course, Dog Friendliness.

Brad Crown, a local architect, walks his dogs Chase and Riley while exploring the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 7, 2009. (Photo by Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.)


Like the Solar Decathlon, each house will cater to a specific client. The official competition rules state that BARKitecture designs must be built to suit a member of the DEN Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS). These inspirational volunteer animals help combat travel stress with free hugs, pets, and pictures.

Pause for adorable overload.

DEN is now accepting design submissions that incorporate renewable energy and possess a sustainable feature. A panel of judges will review the drawings and select up to 12 finalists to move into construction.

The custom doghouses will be showcased at the outdoor airport plaza September 18–October 9, in conjunction with the nearby Solar Decathlon, which starts on October 5, 2017. The public is invited to visit during the display period, vote online for the People’s Choice and Kid’s Choice awards, and even potentially purchase your very own dream (dog) home.

Yes, animal lovers of the world, you can finally get your paws on one of these. All of the BARKitecture finalist doghouses will be sold in an online auction. Proceeds will benefit a local nonprofit animal shelter, the Denver Dumb Friends League, so you can even feel extra good about spoiling your dog sustainably.

Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for more details and warm fuzzies to come!

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