Skip navigation to main content. U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun
A man presents information about energy-efficient buildings to a group of people seated under a canopy at the 2007 Solar Decathlon.

Workshops on energy efficiency and solar technologies drew large crowds during the 2007 Solar Decathlon.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Consumer Workshops

Below are descriptions of the consumer workshops offered at the 2007 Solar Decathlon.

Energy Efficiency for the Homeowner

Presenter: Lew Pratsch, DOE

The workshop focuses on ways to reduce energy bills for new and older homes by discussing topics such as energy efficient mortgages and other resources.

Solar for the Homeowner

Presenter: Glenn Strahs, DOE

Are you ready to add a system onto your home and enjoy the benefits of clean, quiet power whose cost will not increase over time? The workshop shows you the next steps, such as how to estimate whether your home is suited for a solar energy system and what to ask prospective solar contractors. If you're ready to put solar on your home, this workshop is the next step.

"AIA COTE Top Ten: A focus on top-notch design."

Presenter: AIA

Using the AIA Top 10 parameters of exemplary sustainable design, this workshop addresses design methodologies and research modes for the public to think about and use in their lives.

The audience can tackle one or more of the parameters, review sample projects and complete an exercise, matching photos of project components/systems to their Top 10 parameter. This exercise can be used as reference material at home.

Renovating Green and a 5-Year Green Plan

Presenter: PATH

This focuses on the benefits of sustainability. To help homeowners develop a five-year green menu for their homes, discussion topics include weatherization, thermostat control, HVAC tune up, water heater, appliances, lighting and xeriscaping.

Empowering You: Environmental Solutions for Office Interiors

Presenter: Mindy Billingsley, Environmental Marketing Manager, The HON Company

There are many opportunities for companies (or even individuals) to create sustainable office environments. The audience can learn the importance of "green" interior environments today, how to incorporate sustainable solutions into commercial spaces and the criteria to consider when updating interior environments. Discussion topics include water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, innovation and design processes, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Solar Energy

Presenters: Kevin Kenny & Jerry Meyers, Power Engineering (on behalf of Sprint)

During this workshop, a variety of topics are covered that encompass solar energy and the industry.

  • How photovoltaic panels work
  • Electrical diagram
  • AC vs. DC output
  • Difference between crystalline panels and thin film
  • History of crystalline panels
  • Advances with thin film
  • Level-setting expectations
  • Footprint vs. output
  • Geographic areas conducive to solar energy solutions
  • Incentives and tax credits (federal and state)

Solar Best Practices for Homeowners

Presenter: Michael Baechler, DOE Building America (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

The workshop focuses on lessons learned from homes in the Building America program. Discussion topics include state-of-the-art solar energy and solar thermal building practices as well as successful building projects around the country that excelled in building design, materials selection, mounting techniques, business plans and marketing opportunities.

Energy Efficient Tools for Zero Energy Homes

Presenter: Peter Lowenthal, ASHRAE

The workshop discusses what consumers can do to "green" their home and to operate a more energy efficient household in rooms such as the attic, bathroom, baby nursery, kitchen, home office, and basement. Consumers can see a significant reduction in water bills and electric (from heating water) bills in a matter of months.

Solar Dodecahedron — Scaling Up the Solar Decathlon

Presenter: Paul Westbrook, Sustainable Development Manager, Texas Instruments International Facilities

To be competitive, the Solar Decathlon teams must address the fundamental issues of energy and resource efficiency. Optimizing a design for people, profit, and the planet is also known as sustainable design. For businesses, attention to resource efficiency is becoming a competitive advantage.

The workshop discusses these topics as well as TI's new semiconductor manufacturing facility, a silicon-based industry, scaling up sustainability, and biomemetrics.