The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition where 20 teams of university students from around the world develop fully-functional houses that draw all their energy from the sun.
After spending two years developing their homes, the students ship their partially completed homes to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., finish building the homes, and then compete in 10 contests that measure the team's skills in architecture, home design, and communications. The solar homes must produce enough electricity and hot water to perform all the normal functions of a home, including powering the lights and home electronics, washing clothes and dishes, showering, and cooking, all while maintaining a comfortable temperature. Teams can also earn bonus points if their homes produce a surplus of electricity.
The event will be open to the public on October 15-18. For more information, visit http://www.solardecathlon.org/.