Green Can Come in All Shapes, Forms and Styles. As architects, TMS Architects is always interested in activities in our field and this caught our interest. Architectural students from all over the world have been working to design, construct and operate zero-energy single-family homes as part of a unique competition held by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon. This biennial event started in 2002, with others following in 2005, 2007 and 2009. So far more than 15,000 students on 92 school teams have participated in this AIA-sponsored event. Twenty teams have been selected as finalists for the 2011 Solar Decathlon and all are busy working on their entries and readying them for shipment to Washington DC.
The completed buildings will be installed as a solar-powered village on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park from September 23-Oct 2 where they will be open to the public and judged in 10 different categories. A new category has been introduced this year, the Affordability Contest, which as AIArchitect reports,
…encourages teams to design and build affordable houses that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems. The goal is to produce houses that focus on passive sustainable design strategies, minimizing dependence on more expensive active energy generation systems while maximizing price-point market readiness.
The Department of Energy will announce the winners of individual contests and one overall winner which will be covered in an upcoming edition of AIArchitect.