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Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017

Solar Decathlon Blog - Technology Spotlights

Below you will find Solar Decathlon news from the Technology Spotlights archive, sorted by date.

Technology Spotlight: Home Sensors and Automation Systems

Thursday, November 13, 2014

By Irene Ying and Alexis Powers

Saving energy doesn’t require sacrifice. It also doesn’t have to be complicated, thanks to occupancy and vacancy sensors and home automation systems.

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Technology Spotlight: Heat Pumps

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

By Irene Ying

Temperature control, whether heating water for a bath in winter or cooling a bedroom on a blazing summer day, is essential to a comfortable home.

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Technology Spotlight: Energy-Recovery Ventilation Systems

Monday, August 18, 2014

By Alexis Powers and Carol Laurie

Editor’s Note: This post is one of a series of technology spotlights that introduces common technologies used in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon team houses.

Good ventilation is vital for maintaining healthy indoor air quality. Houses built to modern energy efficiency standards, such as U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition houses, are tightly constructed to allow very little outside air to leak in. As a result, odors, chemicals, particles, and humidity can become trapped, increasing indoor air pollution.

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Solar Decathlon Village Powered by Microgrid and Sponsor Support

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

By Carol Laurie

Since the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009, a temporary, ground-laid electrical grid (or “microgrid”) has connected Solar Decathlon houses with one another and the local utility. The village microgrid allows excess power generated by the houses’ solar electric systems to be sent back to the larger city utility grid and its customers. The microgrid also enables the competition houses to draw energy from the utility when consumption exceeds production.

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Technology Spotlight: Solar Water Heating

Friday, September 27, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

Editor’s Note: This post is one of a series of technology spotlights that introduces common technologies used in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon team houses.

Solar water heating systems make hot water for residential uses such as bathing, laundering, and dish washing. Generally less expensive than photovoltaic panels, these systems provide homeowners with a cost-effective way to harness the sun’s energy.

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Technology Spotlight: Structural Insulated Panels

Monday, September 19, 2011

Alexis Powers

Editor’s Note: This post is one of a series of technology spotlights that introduces common technologies used in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon team houses.

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are prefabricated structural elements used to build walls, ceilings, floors, and roofs. Made of foam insulation sandwiched between two layers of structural board, SIPs provide a more airtight dwelling than a standard stud-frame house. This creates a quieter and more energy-efficient interior space.

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Technology Spotlight: Radiant Heating Systems

Thursday, September 15, 2011

By Alexis Powers

Editor’s Note: This post is one of a series of technology spotlights that introduce common technologies used in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon team houses.

Homes generally rely on forced air systems, such as baseboard heat, for warmth in the winter. But for more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly heating, several houses built for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon use radiant floor heating instead.

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