IRVINE, CA (Aug. 12, 2015): The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon returns to the Orange County Great Park for its 2015 competition, to be held October 8-11 and October 15-18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate students from across the country and around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. This is the second time the prestigious competition will be held at the Great Park; the 2013 contest drew 64,000 attendees.
Visitors to the free Solar Decathlon will have the opportunity to tour 15 solar-powered houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money. In addition to the house tours, families will enjoy an array of activities for kids.
For the first time this year, a local team will be competing. Team Orange County comprises students from UC Irvine, Chapman University, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College. The team’s house, Casa del Sol, will mimic the state flower, the California poppy. Its passive solar features cause the house to open up during the day, increasing the effective living area. At night, the house closes to maintain a comfortable temperature. This house and others in the competition will be judged in 10 distinct categories that measure energy efficiency, market appeal and design achievement.
With nearly 800 college students traveling to Irvine and tens of thousands of visitors expected at the Great Park over this two-weekend event, a strong volunteer effort is key. Volunteers will be called on to serve as docents, greeters, visitor liaisons, Education Day mentors and more. Those interested in volunteering can learn more at solardecathlon.gov/volunteers.