By Linda Silverman and Olivia Wolford
From planning to construction, it requires many roles to take a house from blueprint to reality. One of the key features of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is the realistic experience it provides to participating students. The Solar Decathlon is a uniquely large-scale university design-build competition, offering theory-to-practice opportunities for student teams and a fascinating learning experience for those visiting this free event in Denver, Colorado. Ten contests evaluate various aspects of energy-efficient, solar-powered houses, which teams have spent nearly two years designing, refining, and building.